VAR has done well at Euro 2020 thus far, but this was a glaring error.
Many on social media have pointed out that VAR at Euro 2020 has been almost perfect, with experts and fans quick to praise the way it’s being used and the speed with which decisions are being reached.
And while VAR at the Euros has gone down a lot smoother than it does every week in the Premier League, Wednesday night’s match between Italy and Switzerland saw a very odd decision given.
The Premier Leagues use of VAR has made me doubt it. Watching this tournament makes me realise we’ve overcomplicated it , mis-used it and thought we knew better than tournaments and countries that had used it before us . Used correctly It can work and not intrude on the game !
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) June 15, 2021
Euro 2020 VAR handball.
Giorgio Chiellini thumped home a scrappy volley to put Italy ahead, with the 36-year-old sending a crowd filled with Italian fans wild in the process.
VAR intervened moments later, and the goal was disallowed due to a supposed handball by Chiellini in the buildup to the goal.
Giorgio Chiellini thought he had scored on his 104th international appearance but VAR spotted a handball.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 16, 2021
Chiellini goal disallowed.
As you can see in the clip, Chiellini’s arm touches the ball because he is sandwiched between two Swiss players, and couldn’t move his arm out of the way even if he tried.
It is not too dissimilar to a decision that went against Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins earlier in the season, where he was ruled as offside purely because a West Ham defender had pushed him into an offside position.
In this situation, Chiellini has not intentionally used his arm to make himself bigger, and the supposed handball hasn’t led “immediately” to the goal, as per IFAB’s rules, and should have stood.
Before the tournament, UEFA’s chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti said that the handball rule was due to change for Euro 2020, and that accidental handballs in the buildup to a goal would no longer be seen as a foul. It is surprising that Chiellini’s didn’t fall into this category.
It is not of the same ilk as Thierry Henry’s infamous handball against Ireland, which is surely the sort of incident that the rule is there to stop.
Those who have played the game will know that there was nothing Chiellini could have done in that moment to not handle the ball, and an entire category of goals will be phased out from football if this is going to be deemed as a foul.
While VAR in the Euros has certainly been an improvement on what we’re used to in the Premier League, it’s safe to say that there might be one or two more dodgy calls in the next couple of weeks.