New VAR audio reveals why Newcastle goal vs Arsenal was not ruled out | Football


Three separate infringements were checked by the VAR (Pictures: Getty / Sky Sports)

The VAR audio from Newcastle United’s controversial goal against Arsenal earlier this month has been released, with the officiating team unable to definitively check two of the potential offences.

Anthony Gordon’s strike in the 64th minute at St James’ Park secured a 1-0 victory for the Magpies but caused huge controversy and even a furious post-match rant from Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

There was a lengthy check after the ball hit the back of the net with three separate incidents requiring examination across the chaotic phase of play.

The first was whether the whole ball had crossed the line before Joe Willock crossed into the box, the second was whether Joelinton had fouled Gabriel Magalhaes and the third was whether Gordon was in an offside position when the ball dropped to him.

On all three checks the VAR, Andy Madley, could not find conclusive evidence to overturn the decision of on-pitch referee Stuart Atwell.

There was no camera angle which could 100 per cent confirm whether the whole of the ball had gone out of play, while the VAR team were also unable to definitively establish a point of contact on the ball in order to draw offside lines.

With not enough proof to cancel the goal on those two factual offences, it was also felt that the contact on Gabriel from Joelinton was not significant enough to overturn Atwell’s original decision.

Did the ball go out of play before Gordon’s goal? (Picture: Sky Sports)

PGMOL chief Howard Webb has now discussed what happened at St James’ Park for the first time in the latest Match Officials Mic’d Up show, with the full VAR audio from Gordon’s goal also released.

The audio confirms that Madley and his VAR team were unable to make definitive calls on whether the ball had fully crossed the line as well as the potential offside due to the limitations of the camera angles at their disposal.

The VAR conversation in full:

AR1: Staying in, staying in! Still in, still in, still in!
VAR: Potential ball out of play.
VAR: Waiting for on-field decision.
REF: They’ll check, they’ll check.
VAR: Stu, can you confirm your on-field decision please?
REF: Mads, the on-field decision is goal. The ask on the pitch is for ball out of play on the goal line.
VAR: Confirmed Stuart. Checking on-field decision of goal.
VAR: So I’m interested in… I’d like you to go to GLT (goal-line technology) mate. Have you got the GLT camera there?
RO: It’s not going to be in there. We can go to this one.
REF: And Burty (AVAR Stuart Burt), normal contact on the challenge on the back post.
VAR: OK, stop it at that point. Thank you. So Stu (AVAR) can you have a look at this as well before we go check the goal? For me, I’ve got no conclusive evidence that that ball is out.
AVAR: No, I agree. I was going to say, you can’t go on that angle. Although it looks out, you’ve got the curvature of the ball.
VAR: Just one second then. So go two frames forward the ball is already back in play/on the line. There we go, so that’s fine. Run that through please.
AVAR: Now you’ve got the challenge on the back post.
VAR: Yep, I’m going to check that, so running that through please. So looking for an offside position first of all, no offside position. Now doing a check of a potential foul on Gabriel so have you got high behind for me please? I don’t see a specific foul on Gabriel. I see two hands on his back but I don’t see anything of a push that warrants him flying forward like that.
AVAR: As Stuart said, there’s a potential for handball but it’s not the goalscorer giving the handball.
VAR: No it’s not the goalscorer, and it’s not deliberate from him. So I’m seeing that the ball comes off Joelinton with no specific foul there. Can you just confirm that the player is onside as well when it comes off Joelinton? Can we confirm that is off Joelinton? And the point of contact on Joelinton?

Was Gordon behind the ball or in an offside position? (Picture: Sky Sports)

RO: Just looking for a better angle to find the point of contact for you.
VAR: We just need to check he’s in an onside position then as we run it through.
AVAR: I agree. Don’t forget you’ve got the keeper is out as well.
RO: Struggling to find a point of contact here.
VAR: OK, OK. Just keep going down, roll that forward. Forward. Roll that forward. So it’s going to be off Joelinton’s hip potentially. Roll that one frame forward. Stu, are you happy that is the best point of contact that we’ve got?
AVAR: Yep, from the angles that are available.
VAR: So we might need to go check the offside now. Check the offside now. OK, so he’s clearly on. Looking at Gabriel’s body position there, his shoulder…
AVAR: Yeah, but you’ve got the second rearmost is the goalkeeper. So now you’ve got to decide, because you’ve got… I don’t know where the ball is because the ball is being hidden from Joelinton here. So you don’t know where the ball is. And you’ve got no conclusive evidence of Gordon being ahead of the ball. So with the reverse angle that you’ve got, you have not got any opportunity there of where the ball is. With that in my opinion I think you have to award the goal on the evidence.
VAR: So we go check complete on the goal?
AVAR: I agree.


Speaking about how VAR handled the incident, Webb said: ‘This was a big moment and an unusual situation with three aspects for the VAR to check whether or not the on-field decision of goal should be overturned.

‘We see the ball getting very close to the goal-line. Don’t forget we’ve got an assistant referee who is right in line with the ball, the ball hasn’t got a lot of pace as it goes to the goal-line, so he’s looking right down the line better than any of our cameras and we know the ball is curved so it can be overhanging the line.

‘We need evidence that it is out and we don’t have that here. The ball then comes over and Joelinton challenges Gabriel, could be a foul, might be a foul. The VAR decides the evidence from the footage isn’t clear enough to intervene with a recommendation of a clear error.

‘I think the talk that we’ve seen after, the opinion that it has split across a lot of analysis since the situation, suggests it was a correct non-intervention because of the subjectivity.

‘And then one of those unusual situations where the ball goes between two players and trying to identify exactly when the ball leaves Joelinton is really difficult to establish because of the players being so close together. So, again, no conclusive evidence that Gordon was offside when the ball was last touched to him.

‘So the VAR went through it diligently and identified no clear evidence to intervene to overturn the goal, so the process actually was correct.’

Arsenal boss Arteta was livid that VAR did not intervene, saying afterwards: ‘We have to talk about how the hell this goal was allowed to stand. I feel embarrassed.

‘But I have to be the one now to come in here and try to defend the club and please ask for help because it is an absolute disgrace that this goal is allowed. An absolute disgrace.

‘It is not a goal. For many reasons it is not a goal. For more than one reason at least it’s not a goal. There’s too much at stake.

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‘I’ve been more than 20 years in this country and this is nowhere near the level to describe this as the best league in the world, I’m sorry.’

When he was told that the VAR did not have the necessary camera angles, Arteta replied: ‘I don’t care. I don’t care what they say. It’s the outcome, it’s too late. Whatever they say it’s too late.

‘It’s simple, it is not a goal. It is not a goal. Simple. For a goal to be allowed there are certain things prior to that – the ball hitting one metre from the goal – that are not allowed in football. In football. Here, in China, in Japan, in Spain, in Italy and in Portugal. They are not allowed. That’s what happens.’

He added: ‘I feel sick, that’s how I feel. I feel sick to be part of this.’

The day after Arteta’s outburst, Arsenal rather unusually released a statement backing their manager’s comments and saying that referees’ body PGMOL ‘urgently needs to address the standard of officiating’ in the Premier League.

Both Arteta and Arsenal were written to by the Football Association to request observations of their actions and comments following the Newcastle defeat and could yet be handed punishments.

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