Brendan Rodgers to seek clarification over VAR handball call during Villa defeat

By Ian Parkes, PA
PA Media: Sport

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is to seek clarification as to why his side were not awarded what he claims was “the clearest handball you will see” during his side’s Carabao Cup defeat at Aston Villa.

Trailing 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-final second leg, James Maddison’s effort from distance struck the hand of Marvelous Nakamba, with the midfielder’s follow-up on the rebound hitting Ezri Konsa in his side.

Although referee Mike Dean had a clear view of the Nakamba incident, he opted against awarding a penalty, while a VAR review concurred, despite the tightening on the rules for this season regarding handball.

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It has since been suggested, however, those in Stockley Park only reviewed Maddison’s strike into Konsa, and not his initial effort that hit Nakamba’s hand.

Asked whether he knew if the authorities had looked into the VAR decision, Rodgers said: “We’ve not had anything on that.

“When I look back on the game and the coverage, and I don’t know whether it was the TV,  it looked like it wasn’t looked at for a long period of time, which was interesting because arguably it was the clearest handball you will see.

“I can’t see why it wasn’t a penalty, but we haven’t been given an explanation, whether it was the first one or the second, but clearly one was a penalty.

“We will definitely ask the question because it is good in any situation to have the clarity so that everyone is clear. If that wasn’t handball then it’s nice to know why because we don’t really have an excuse now.

“If the referee didn’t quite see in the game, that’s why VAR is there, so it would be good to have that clarity, and that’s something we will do as a club.”

On Wednesday night, Maddison issued a tweet expressing his surprise at Dean’s decision, along with a video clip that clearly shows his shot hitting Nakamba’s right hand.

Maddison’s tweet read: “Fair play to Aston Villa for getting to the final and not making any excuses but how a premier league referee watching this from multiple angles several times comes to the conclusion that this isn’t a penalty baffles me.”

Rodgers exonerated Maddison for his comments, adding: “He was probably looking at it more generically. It’s one where he has a photograph of the handball. I don’t think there was any intent to focus on one referee.

“He’s tweeted about the arm being raised, and that’s clearly what VAR and everyone else is there for. (There was) Probably a little bit of frustration for him personally.”

Rodgers has not spoken to Maddison with regard to the pitch invasion that followed the final whistle at Villa Park and Villa’s 3-2 aggregate win, which is under investigation by the Football Association, as it has been claimed the 23-year-old was pushed to the ground in the furore.

Rodgers does not believe any of players were injured, adding: “Nothing has been brought to me by a player, a staff member, so I wouldn’t actually know.

“Everyone will tell you it’s not ideal, players are on the pitch, and it should be the safest place for them to be.

“I think we understand the elation of any team if that does happen, however, safety is paramount for the players.

“But I haven’t heard of anything from anyone, so I can only assume that nothing took place.”

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