(Reuters) - The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system is not being used to its full potential as it has been put in a “straitjacket” by protocol, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said.
Carragher’s comments came after Sheffield United were denied a legitimate goal in the 0-0 Premier League draw at Aston Villa on Wednesday.
“I go back to the idea that VAR has been in a straitjacket: we can only do ‘this,’” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“It doesn’t matter how you get to the right decision. It’s goalline technology but are they (VAR) not in the referee’s ear, speaking to people running the technology?
“Rather than all these protocols, they should be saying, ‘OK, you’ve made a mistake, we’ll step in.’”
Hawk-Eye, the operators of the goalline technology system used in the Premier League, later apologised for the failure.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder blasted the decision not to award his team a goal.
“This goes right in, I’d imagine, top of the pile in poor decisions that have been made by the process of technology,” Wilder told reporters.
“The statement has come out, unprecedented, unbelievable... we were waiting for somebody... to show a bit of courage, stick their chest out and say, ‘I’ll make that decision.’”
Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg said VAR should have intervened to correct an obvious error.
“Officials need to stop acting like robots and take ownership because a human being has to make the final decision, although I attach no blame to referee Michael Oliver in this instance,” Clattenburg told the Daily Mail.
“VAR was brought in to stop the scandal, but this is a scandalous situation.”
British media described it as a “farce”.
“Ah, football... what else could take an occasion heavy with significance, dignified by extraordinary and moving gestures around racism and a global pandemic, and transform it into a goalline farce?” Matt Dickinson wrote in The Times.
Former referee Peter Walton said the match officials could not be blamed as they are led by technology.
“Who would overrule technology with the naked eye? There’s always the back-up of the VAR and they should be looking for a potential goal in their normal check,” he said.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru and Martyn Herman in London; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis