England players are uncertain of exactly how the Video Assistant Referee works, admitted Kyle Walker, after a number of dubious claims went against the Three Lions during their World Cup 2018 opener against Tunisia on Monday night.
Harry Kane was twice denied a penalty for what looked like a clear example of “grappling” – something the referees’ briefing to the media before the tournament said would be cut down on – but it was not referred to by the referee.
Tunisia’s penalty was also a contentious decision against Walker himself, who was also booked for the clash with Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, with England’s players furious referee Wilmar Roldan did not review the incident.
All 32 teams were given a pre-tournament briefing on the use of VAR but Walker insisted there is still a lot of confusion within the England camp.
“We’ve had a briefing, but what’s correct and what’s not? When do you ask for it? You don’t want to crowd the referee and say ‘VAR’ because then it is a yellow card,” he told the Evening Standard. “I think you just have to let the referees get on with it and let them take the decisions. They have got a hard enough game as it is without putting any more confusion in it.
“It is one of those things that I am going to have to take on the chin. Would it have been given in the Premier League? Probably not. In the World Cup it is probably a penalty. It is a learning curve for me. Next time I will probably head it away and ask questions afterwards!”
VAR is in use at all times during every game, with a team of four referees always reviewing incidents in a studio away from the stadium. They would then consult the on-field referee to tell him whether they deem an incident worthy of a review. Should they do that then the on-field referee then stops the game to view the incident pitch-side before making a decision whether to alter his original decision.
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