Monday Night Football reveals what referees and Var are really saying to each other

Howard Webb: Monday Night Football reveals what referees and Var's are really saying
Howard Webb: Monday Night Football reveals what referees and Var's are really saying

In a groundbreaking move for the Premier League, referees chief Howard Webb on Monday night gave a unique insight into some of the key decisions involving Var in an attempt to show supporters how the technology is used and decisions reached.

Some fans will be disappointed that the clips shown on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football were at the less controversial end of the spectrum but will at least understand the process that takes place a little better.

“We made a commitment to be more transparent,” Webb told presenters Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville. “I think we know and recognise that people want more information about refereeing processes with the advent of Var.

“We want to draw the curtain back and show the viewers and spectators what goes on to making the decisions from a professional group of officials who are working hard to have a positive impact on the game. We are going to do that tonight and hopefully continue to do that as much as we possibly can.

“You will hear a few voices. The on-field officials, the referee and assistant referees,  and they are making the on field decision and then you will hear the assistant Var who are doing the checks on the big incidents. Who are assisted by a technician who gives them all the relevant replays, all the angles they need to look at and whether to intervene because a clear error has been identified or otherwise."

These were the incidents Webb feature.

Kai Havertz handball vs Liverpool – goal ruled out

Assistant referee: “It has come off his chest.”

Referee: “Onfield decision is a goal as the ball has come off his chest.”

Var: It’s a factual handball, frame it on the arm, it’s clearly arm… Tayls [referee Anthony Taylor] I recommend you disallow the goal. It’s handball leads immediately to the ball in the net.

Howard Webb's explanation:

"That is Var working as it should be. The Var officials can see something the onfield referees couldn’t see. Anthony Taylor said he thinks it hit him on the chest so I’m going to give the goal."

"But when the ball comes off a hand, deliberate or otherwise, and goes into the goal, or even down to his foot and then he puts it in immediately, it has to be disallowed."

"The video opens up the answer. It’s a factual review, he didn’t have to go to the screen to waste time, because it clearly hit the arm.”

Jakub Kiwior handball Arsenal vs Newcastle – penalty overturned

Var: Shot possible handball.

Assistant Var: Penalty on-field

Referee: We will check it. For me the arm is out.

Zinchenko: Offside, offside…

Var: Kav [referee Chris Kavanagh], we are going to check the penalty for you.. Can you confirm that is definitely the arm? Is it not the thigh first? I just need to confirm that is not his thigh because it looks like it is thigh on to arm and his arm is by his side at that point. The arm is in a natural position for the action he is making. I don’t believe it should be a penalty.

Assistant Var: I agree mate, It has hit his thigh and he is retracting his arm as well so I agree it is not a penalty kick.

Var: Chris, it’s Michael I am going to recommend an on-field review to review the penalty that you have awarded. We are showing you here is the impact of the ball and the position of the arm, but also the fact the ball does strike the thigh

Referee: So we have got a deflection off the knee first

Var: So deflection off the knee and then the arm comes behind his back after the movement of his thigh. Do you need to see any other angles?

Referee: No, I’m happy. My initial reaction was the arm was out but it actually comes in not out. I’m going to disallow and restart with a dropped ball to the goalkeeper.

Webb's explanation:

"You can clearly see the ball hits the thigh, the shorts move, and the arm is moving back into the body, it’s making him smaller not bigger. The ball might brush the arm after hitting the thigh, but he [the referee] thought the arm was out making himself bigger. People might say that’s not clear and obvious, but that in itself is a judgement."

"You get clearly wrong decisions at one end of the scale and clearly correct at the other. Inbetween that there are a host of subjective decisions and I’m really keen to make sure our use of Var is consistent."

"The evidence is conclusive because you see the shorts move and it’s an angle the referee did not see.  it’s a good use of Var. We sent him over to the monitor as he still had a judgement call to make, he could have stuck with the penalty. Var just say why they are sending him over but he could have stuck with the original call."

Joelinton offside decision West Ham vs Newcastle – goal given

Assistant Referee: I’m delaying… offside.

Var: Ok, so this is really close I’m going to need lines on this. Defender number 24 please and I will need to check the defender on the far side as well. This is tight, we will need to use crosshairs. Over his heel.

Referee: Dec, Dec, [West Ham’s Declan Rice] this is going to be really tight.

Var: He’s clearly the last defender on the far side.. The shoulder of the attacker please. Happy to confirm those lines. Craig the decision, the lines have come out as onside so I recommend you award the goal.

Referee: Ok, thank you.

Assistant Referee: Wow, that was tighter than I thought. Thank you boys, sorry

Assistant Referee: Well done mate, good process, that’s why we delay. Well done

Webb's explanation:

"They are disappointed they didn’t get it right on the field but this one looked miles offside. He looked miles offside. We don’t want the officials to delay raising the flag if it is obvious in their professional judgement, but they also know what might look clear to everyone else is in fact really tight."

"They have learned to delay the flag if it's close and there is an attacking opportunity. This is a really good example of why we delay."

Leandro Trossard goal Leicester vs Arsenal – ruled out for foul

Var: Possible foul

Assistant Referee: It’s his own man, it’s his own man

Var: Goal awarded on-field

Assistant Var: The goalkeeper is asking for it (a foul) but he is the only one.

Var: We will check it for you, the first point of concern, is there a foul on the keeper? Ben White is he holding the right arm of the goalkeeper?

Referee: I didn’t see anything.

Var: We can’t see anything from that angle but I’ve got a suspicion Ben White is hooking his arm and pulls it into his body with his left arm… go to goal cam. He is holding his arm there, that is the perfect image. So Ben White’s arm is holding on to Danny Ward’s glove. Can you see that from the goal cam?

That impacts his ability to play the ball cleanly. I’m going to recommend an on field review for a foul on the goalkeeper in the build up to the goal. I'm showing you an image from behind the goal, you can see Ben White’s hand is holding the glove of Danny Ward. He keeps hold of it as Danny Ward tries to punch the ball away, sustained holding

Referee: Ok, holding, holding

Webb's explanation:

"When we see the angle Craig could never get there is no doubt it’s a clear foul, sustained holding. One thing we have to evaluate is the impact of that contact. Fleeting contact, we don’t want to get too involved in but when something is sustained, the impact, a goalkeeper being held for a considerable amount of time."

"Once you see that definitive angle then Var is right to get involved. It's clear and obvious when you see it from that angle.”

Ivan Toney penalty against Brentford – incorrectly allowed to stand

Referee: A bit of help Longy..

Assistant Referee: No, no, no, no

Referee: The second one, the second one is holding with his arm, dragged him down

Assistant Var: Onfield decision is a penalty

Var: Ok checking, yeah there is enough in there, enough in there to support that. Check complete.

Webb's explanation:

"The penalty that was awarded for the arm across the chest that is a credible penalty award. There is no reason  to believe that is a clear and obvious error. But we are not only checking the last action we are checking the whole attacking phase that leads into the decision that is reviewed, a possible offside and a possible foul."

"We see on this is a foul by Ivan Toney just before he is fouled. This was an issue of process, the footage didn’t show the incident where that contact was made. It was just a matter of process rather than judgement. Toney should have been penalised for a foul and a free kick given to Bournemouth."