Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has said Juan Mata’s disallowed goal in Manchester United’s FA Cup win at Huddersfield should have stood even though replays show he was marginally offside.
Mata’s strike was ruled out following a VAR review by referee Kevin Friend , but the TV replays of the VAR featured odd and wavy lines instead of straight ones, sparking huge controversy.
While the decision did not affect the result for United, who went on to win the game 2-0 , it led to many questioning whether the new system was fit for purpose, including talkSPORT’s Joey Barton.
Post-match, Halsey backed up a tweet that claimed the technicians hired by the PGMOL are not experienced enough to run the system.
And speaking to talkSPORT 2’s Will Gavin on All the Football, Halsey confirmed this and even claimed the technicians knew the lines were faulty pre-match, suggesting the decision to disallow the goal could have been guesswork.
On Mata’s goal, Halsey said: “For me that’s a goal. It’s so so tight and to be fair to the assistant referee you are never going to see that in real time. We’re talking a slight knee cap, perhaps.
“On that situation, I think Matthew Wilkes [the linesman] called it absolutely spot on in not raising his flag.
“If it’s taking eight and a half minutes to come up with the right image to justify that decision then the goal should be given.
“I’m reliably informed that the PGMOL match officials have expressed concerns about the experience of the technicians.
“They knew before kick-off that the lines were not right so how can we use it?
“With the zig-zag lines one has to ask ‘did they guess that decision?’
“We’ve got to have the best possible technicians involved to get these images to these guys.
“It’s a shambles. We cannot go into the World Cup or Premier League season with it not being correct. The VAR in the Confederations Cup last summer was a complete shambles.”
Halsey went on to say that technology in football needs to be used more effectively and referees cannot be over-reliant on VAR.
However, Halsey was full of praise for Friend for dealing with the situation surrounding Mata’s disallowed goal well.
He added: “We’ve got to embrace technology but it’s got to be done in the correct manner. We’ve got to give the officials the correct training and education.
“There is a lot of work to be done with the training and education, with the technicians, because that [Juan Mata’s disallowed goal] was a farce.
“The zig-zaggy lines were a farce and then we were told that’s what we saw and then we were told they actually saw the correct lines. It was different to what we have seen in the past.
“What we need is clarity. No one knew what was going on.
“With VAR it’s a totally different mindset. You’re not really refereeing the game, you’re there for clear and obvious errors and with goals, clear and obvious errors do not come into it in this case.
“As a match official you have to forget about VAR and you have got to go out there and referee what is in front of you.
“I thought Kevin Friend refereed that game very well. He dealt with the situation very well. The players were frustrated and kept coming to him and he was making them go away."