Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach Gary O’Neil has expressed his dissatisfaction with the Premier League’s officiating standards.
Before traveling to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United on Saturday, the West Midlands club had been involved in three contentious rulings in their first ten games of the season.
Fabio Silva was ruled to have fouled George Baldock within the penalty area in the closing minutes of their game against the Blades, and Ollie Norwood scored the ensuing spot kick to give the home side a 2-1 victory.
Although the penalty was promptly called by the on-field referee, replays revealed that there was little contact, with Silva appearing to back out of the challenge and Baldock initiating it.
VAR declined to overrule the decision in a similar incident involving Hwang Hee-chan and Newcastle United defender Fabian Schar last weekend.
Following the game, O’Neil claimed that he had spoken with referee Robert Jones, who maintained that awarding a penalty was the correct call.
In response, the Englishman said that the Premier League had put itself in “a real bad situation” with VAR, calling the penalty judgment “mad.”
“I don’t really know what to say about it apart from it’s not a penalty,” O’Neil said on Match Of The Day. I spoke with the referee, who confirmed contact. I’ve seen it so many times, yet there is very little contact between Fabio Silva’s shin pad and George Baldock’s calf.
“If that’s a foul, that match had a million fouls today.” Because the referee was so eager to award it, there was never a clear penalty. He only needs to wait quietly, and if he makes a major mistake, VAR will notify him. It’s never a penalty kick.
“I’m not sure where to go with it.” We’re advised to go in and have a rational chat, but I do, and he’s still sitting there with me, watching it and telling me it’s a penalty. That tells me we’re in a crazy situation.
“Baldock knows that if he just moves his foot across, he will fall before the contact.” The referee is telling me he doesn’t see it, which tells me we’re in big trouble. We must, however, improve. We can’t let these rash actions decide our fate; we’ve already lost six points this season as a result.”
Mikel Arteta blasted the decision to allow Newcastle United’s final goal against Arsenal as “an absolute disgrace” and an “embarrassment” on another dismal day for VAR.
Wolves’ defeat places them in 13th place in the Premier League rankings, seven points above the relegation zone, ahead of their match against Tottenham Hotspur on November 11.