Gary Neville has called on the Premier League to act and protect its referees after labelling the statements from Liverpool and Arsenal on VAR as “dangerous”.
Arsenal urged the PGMOL to “urgently address the standard of officiating in the Premier League” in an unprecedented statement for the club, after Newcastle beat the Gunners via a controversial winner on Saturday.
Anthony Gordon’s second-half strike was enough to beat Mikel Arteta’s side despite a four-minute VAR check to analyse three talking points with the goal – whether the ball went out of play, a potential foul by Joelinton and an offside on Gordon.
There were also controversial potential red card incidents involving Kai Havertz and Bruno Guimaraes as temperatures reached boiling point at St James’ Park. It led to Arteta telling Sky Sports that the awarding of the goal was a “disgrace” and “embarrassing” for the officials – and on Sunday, Arsenal came out as a club to support the manager.
It follows a similar statement from Liverpool after refereeing standards in the Premier League once again came under intense scrutiny after VAR admitted a mistake to rule out Luis Diaz’s ‘offside’ goal for Liverpool at Tottenham in September.
‘PL must act and protect officials’
Speaking on Monday Night Football, Gary Neville argued officials are being “significantly and seriously undermined” by statements from clubs, and he insists the Premier League needs to get tough on this situation.
“I thought the statement [from Arsenal] was really poor,” the former Manchester United defender said. “I thought the same the other week.
“Liverpool had a shocking one go against them a few weeks ago at Spurs, and we knew it was wrong at the time. They had a lot to feel hard done by. But the following day when Liverpool wrote their statement mentioning sporting integrity, mentioning they were looking at all options and then the suggestion of a replay, I thought that was quite dangerous.
“The Arsenal statement is quite dangerous.
Arsenal’s statement in full
Arsenal Football Club wholeheartedly supports Mikel Arteta’s post-match comments after yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors on Saturday evening,” the statement read.
We’d also like to acknowledge the huge effort and performance from our players and travelling supporters at St James’ Park.
The Premier League is the best league in the world with the best players, coaches and supporters, all of whom deserve better. PGMOL urgently needs to address the standard of officiating and focus on action which moves us all on from retrospective analysis, attempted explanations and apologies.
We support the ongoing efforts of chief refereeing officer, Howard Webb and would welcome working together to achieve the world-class officiating standards our league demands.
Liverpool’s statement in full
Liverpool Football Club acknowledges PGMOL’s admission of their failures last night. It is clear that the correct application of the laws of the game did not occur, resulting in sporting integrity being undermined.
We fully accept the pressures that match officials work under but these pressures are supposed to be alleviated, not exacerbated, by the existence and implementation of VAR.
It is therefore unsatisfactory that sufficient time was not afforded to allow the correct decision to be made and that there was no subsequent intervention.
That such failings have already been categorised as “significant human error” is also unacceptable. Any and all outcomes should be established only by the review and with full transparency.
This is vital for the reliability of future decision-making as it applies to all clubs with learnings being used to make improvements to processes in order to ensure this kind of situation cannot occur again.
In the meantime, we will explore the range of options available, given the clear need for escalation and resolution.
“All clubs have signed up to a new behavioural charter at the start of the season. I’m not saying referees shouldn’t be put under pressure or that Mikel Arteta, and other managers, shouldn’t feel aggrieved at the end of matches. What I am saying is that the clubs themselves should behave better in these circumstances.
“I’m looking at the Premier League now and the leadership of the Premier League because the reality is they have got to start protecting referees,” he added.
“At the very beginning I was excited by the new transparency, the apologies to managers and the fact the referees were communicating to the clubs, but in return what they are getting is significantly and seriously undermined by their own clubs.
“The Premier League has to get this in order. The other clubs have to get the clubs that are writing these letters in order because this is unchartered territory the idea of these letters being written and the statements.
“To me, it feels like Arteta has gone off on one on Saturday, which is fine because he’s emotional, and he’s almost gone to his board on the Sunday and said you need to back me. They’ve fallen for it.
“Arsenal is an institution as a football club. It’s a massive, great and wonderful football club with huge history. They should behave better than that and whoever it is that has sanctioned that statement will feel disappointed in a few years.
“I do think the Premier League has to come down on their clubs. They have to say to them that they expect a lot better than this.”
PGMOL not commenting on Arsenal statement
The PGMOL is not commenting on Arsenal’s statement from yesterday.
On Bruno Guimaraes yellow, Sky Sports News understands it would have been a red had it been deemed ‘violent conduct’.
On the potential Gordon offside for Newcastle’s goal, Sky Sports News understands there was no conclusive evidence available to VAR of when the ball was played.
Carra: I don’t like the statement | ‘It’s not another one to jump on the bandwagon’
Meanwhile, Sky Sports‘ Jamie Carragher also showed his support for the officials, saying he didn’t agree with Arsenal’s statement and the former Liverpool defender felt Gordon’s goal had to stand.
He said: “I’ve just seen the Arsenal statement and I don’t really agree with that. This happened a few weeks ago with Liverpool and it was a different set of circumstances then in some ways – but I didn’t agree with what they put out either at the time.
“I was covering the game on Saturday night and on the back of Mikel Arteta’s post-match interview, I said I loved it. The reason I said that is because far too often managers before and after games speak cliches and don’t tell is how they feel. He was passionate, really honest, emotional and it was great TV. That’s the reason I said I loved it, but I didn’t agree with what he said in terms of about not being happy about the VAR.
“I can understand there were three checks of it and the goal gets given. But I’m still scratching my head to think about what part of the goal Arteta and Arsenal are upset about.
“Put yourself in Howard Webb or VAR’s position – they can’t conclusively say whether the ball was in or out. So the on-field decision was carry on and they have to go with that. Is there a foul? Probably 50:50, but not a terrible decision. It could go either way and as a centre-back I’m saying to Gabriel, he could be stronger. And the last bit about offside, it wasn’t given on the field, it was difficult. But VAR didn’t have an angle to see it. So what do you want VAR and the officials to do?
“You could say we are the Premier League, could we have camera angles that covers every part of the pitch. I agree with that. But this is not another one to jump on the bandwagon with VAR and just batter the people at the Stockley Park. That’s not right. Nothing was conclusive about the goal, so it had to be a goal. End of story.”
Ref Watch: Gordon goal should have been ruled out for Joelinton push
Former referee Dermot Gallagher dissects the flashpoints from the latest round of Premier League and Scottish Premiership games, including Anthony Gordon’s controversial winner for Newcastle against Arsenal.
Find out Dermot’s verdict here
(The following story may or may not have been edited by NEUSCORP.COM and was generated automatically from a Syndicated Feed. NEUSCORP.COM also bears no responsibility or liability for the content.)