PGMOL managing director Mike Riley made personal telephone calls to both Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and manager Frank Lampard to apologize following the decision by VAR not to award the club a penalty in Saturday’s game against Manchester City.
Referee Paul Tierney and VAR referee Chris Kavanagh dismissed the Everton claims despite the ball clearly striking the arm of City’s Rodri.
Everton made an official complaint to the Premier League on Monday and Sky Sports News has been told the chairman and manager both received calls later in the day from Riley to apologize about the incident.
Dermot Gallagher told Ref Watch that the officials got it wrong, saying: “It is a penalty, no doubt. I think the VAR inspected it for too long. There are a couple of angles that may have affected the decision.”
During the weekend’s Premier League game, Rodri appeared to use his upper arm to control a bouncing ball in the Everton box soon after Phil Foden had put City in front at Goodison Park, but Tierney missed the incident and Kavanagh opted not to award a spot- kick after a lengthy review.
First-team coach Ashley Cole was shown a yellow card for his protestations to Tierney after the final whistle and a furious Lampard vented his frustrations in his post-match interview with Sky Sports.
“There is no doubt, there is no probably to it,” said Lampard on whether his side should have been awarded a spot kick.
“The decision is incredible, incredible, and that loses us the opportunity to get what we deserved.
“That’s a VAR call. That’s Chris Kavanagh, I spoke to the referee and they know it is a penalty, the question is that it is offside and it wasn’t.
“That’s the reason we have VAR. It wouldn’t have needed more than five seconds to know it was a penalty. Hey [Kavanagh] should have either told the referee to give it or told him to go look at it.
“We’ve lost a point because of a professional who cannot do his job right. You start searching for whys and I can’t think why. It is so incompetent to get it wrong.
“Pep [Guardiola] will know, Everton fans will know, Man City fans will know, it was the clearest penalty you could give: arm is out – great, below the sleeve – great, I was waiting for the penalty.
“Incompetence at best, at worst who knows? I’ll wait for the statement or apology they do when things are wrong but it will mean nothing.”
Which incidents have enraged Everton?
Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:
“The Rodri handball is just the latest in a lengthening list of decisions that has left Everton feeling aggrieved this term. They say these things even themselves out over the course of a season, but while no side benefitted more than Everton from VAR overturning on- field decisions last campaign, this term their luck appears to have run out in just about every regard.
“So far, Everton are down by two goals based on VAR intervention. Their latest gripe doesn’t relate to the technology but rather how it has been used.
“Only Newcastle (-4) and Norwich (-3) have suffered more VAR overturns than the Merseysiders. This unwanted record doesn’t relate to penalty appeals that stay with the on-field referee.
“That said, it only adds to a growing sense of injustice, which can be traced back to early November when referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot when he adjudged Hugo Lloris to have tripped Richarlison after 63 minutes during Everton’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham .
“VAR advised the match official to check the pitchside monitor and the original decision was overturned on the basis that there was conclusive evidence of Lloris having touched the ball.
“If such an error was ‘clear and obvious’, Everton would feel equally perplexed later in November when strong claims for a penalty were waved away after Salomon Rondon’s shirt was pulled by Charlie Goode in the 1-0 defeat at Brentford.
“There have been other cases where stricter punishment might have been carried out, namely Jonjo Shelvey’s challenge on Anthony Gordon during the 3-1 defeat at Newcastle and the call not to award a penalty against Oriol Romeu for a potential handball at Southampton earlier this month .
“Kavanagh already had a history of controversy at Goodison Park having ruled out a late winner against Manchester United in March 2020, with Gylfi Sigurdsson deemed to have been in an offside position and interfering with play despite David de Gea having a clear view of Dominic Calvert -Lewin’s shot.
“But this latest baffling ruling eclipses even that borderline decision.”
Dermot: ‘No doubt’ it is a penalty
Speaking on Ref Watch on Sky Sports NewsGallagher said he had “no doubt” it should have been a penalty.
“It is a penalty, no doubt,” he said. “I think the VAR inspected it for too long. There are a couple of angles that may have affected the decision.
“I think the VAR focused on the first angle first and there was an element of doubt despite the second angle clearly showing it’s handball. He got seduced by the first angle going into the second angle.
“We can’t change the past. Most people will agree it’s a penalty. I know that’s not going to help Everton but we’ve got to learn that if one angle is inconclusive, focus on the angle that is conclusive. That’s the message .
“Paul Tierney is looking through players, he can’t see the incident and Rodri is covering him. I think this should have been a VAR decision.”
The 1-0 defeat intensified Everton’s relegation fears, leaving them only one point above the drop zone in 17th place.
‘How is that not clear?’ What the pundits said
Former Man City defender and Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards:
“Rodri’s face said it all. It’s handball. It is below the T-shirt line.
“It’s just ridiculous. We’ve talked about VAR so many times and they have got so many things right, but this one they have got wrong, and it has cost Everton dearly.
“It’s costing everyone involved in the Premier League. Forget Liverpool for a minute and what they are doing, Everton need to stay up. If they get a penalty and potentially a point out of the game, it enhances their chances.
“How can that not be clear enough evidence? We’ve just got to tell the truth and it is handball. Chris Kavanagh has got one wrong.”
Sky Sports’ Karen Carney:
“For me, it was a penalty. The ball then bounces up and there’s back spin on it. Rodri puts out his arm and the ball hits it.
“Obviously, there is the T-shirt line rule, which means if it hits on the T-shirt it is not handball, but for me it is. I can’t believe they didn’t say to the referee ‘go over to the screen and have a look’.
“I can understand why the Everton and the Everton fans are aggrieved.”
Sky Sports’ Andy Hinchcliffe:
“We’d have to see whether Paul Tierney actually saw Rodri’s arm and saw the ball. If he hasn’t seen it, of course, VAR is there. They are constantly assessing the game. That is their job to then step in, assess that situation and then either make a decision or throw it back to the referee to go and have a look at the monitor.
“It looked pretty obvious to me that it was a handball. There’s spin on the ball, Rodri’s arm comes out and it seems to clearly strike his arm.
I am a fan of VAR but on this occasion, I don’t understand them saying there is not enough evidence to see that the ball hit his arm. We’ve just seen the pictures again and it’s obvious. You can also see how guilty Rodri looks. He knows his arm has come out and the ball has struck it.
“VAR took their time, there was no rushed decision and I thought clearly they were looking at this and they are going to give a handball. It was a handball and they don’t even refer it back down to the referee.”
Hinchcliffe added: “The referee is kind of looking through the body of Rodri. He hasn’t got the best view, but he should be relying on his assistants and VAR.”
“That is what VAR is there for, situations like this where the referee has to think if he’s seen it and can he see it. If they can’t see it, VAR steps in and here, they should have done their job.”
“They feel they have but we all think it was a handball and Rodri and City have got away with one.”