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VAR in the Premier League: How it went on the opening weekend

VAR in the Premier League: How it went on the opening weekend


Video Assistant Referees arrived in the Premier League for the first time this season. But how did it do on the major decisions? We run through the big calls. 

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After Liverpool vs. Norwich passed off pretty much without incident, VAR arrived in the Premier League with a vengeance at the London Stadium

1. Jesus goal disallowed for offside (55 minutes)

David Silva played in Raheem Sterling, who squared for Gabriel Jesus to tap home. However, the VAR check showed that Sterling was marginally in front of the last defender. We were talking millimetres here, but the offside law is a binary decision and it not a consideration for "clear and obvious." Being offside by a millimetre will be penalised.

Offside decisions are made using Hawk-eye 3D technology, which uses several cameras to create the forward point of the each player's body, and then form a line on the pitch. The lines are not manually drawn along the pitch alone.  

2. Sterling allowed after check for offside (75)

Sterling latched onto a pass from Riyad Mahrez to lift the ball past Lukasz Fabianski. The offside check showed that Sterling was just played onside by the backside of a defender as he bent down. Again, a very tight call. 

3. Aguero penalty retake (86)

Fabianski saved Sergio Aguero's weakly hit penalty kick, before Declan Rice came in and cleared the ball. However, Rice was encroaching well into the area when the kick was taken and the VAR correctly ordered a retake. 

One of the VAR's responsibilities on a penalty kick is to check that the ball is not played by an encroaching player if it comes back out play. 

Even though a Manchester City player was also in the area when the penalty was taken, encroachment is a defensive infringement when players from both teams are in the area. 

West Ham's official account incorrectly tweeted that the retake was ordered because Fabianski was off his line. VAR does not make any decision on the goalkeeper in the Premier League, it is left to the linesman as his sole responsibility on a penalty kick.