Wednesday, March 08, 2023

VAR overreach

The last-16 Champions League match between Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund was rightfully a highly expected affair, and it was indeed a great match until the VAR intervened. Chelsea went ahead, and equalized the tie, on a somewhat lucky but skillful strike by Raheem Sterling, but at the same time Dortmund were playing a great match that could go to either side.

But for 2-0 for Chelsea I think VAR overreached. Indeed, VAR was generally correct, and it was also correct when the handball inside the area was awarded although it was what would be called a "harsh" call, that in many cases would not be called. But the overreached happened in the penalty kick when Kai Havertz kick on the post had to be retaken because of what was called "encroachment" into the box. Havertz scored in the new kick, and gave Chelsea the victory.

Not an undeserved result by itself, but the "encroachment" call was weird to say the least, because nothing happened that doesn't happen in every penalty kick at that level, and Havertz surely did not miss because of the so-called "encroachment". Instead, it seemed only like Havertz was given a new chance that would never have been given otherwise.

VAR is generally used well at this level, without (too many) ridiculous breaks, but in this case it seemed like total overreach, which was surely a pity for what was otherwise a great match,


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