VAR penalty shows defenders need to adapt, says Spurs defender Vertonghen

Referee Bjorn Kuipers awards a penalty to Manchester City after reviewing an incident with VAR. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 10 April 2019

VAR penalty shows defenders need to adapt, says Spurs defender Vertonghen

  • City were awarded a penalty in the 13th minute of Tuesday’s first-leg tie by VAR
  • Vertonghen has urged the decision-makers to think like footballers

LONDON: Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen says defenders will have to adapt to VAR after the latest controversial incident in the Champions League quarterfinal win against Manchester City.
City were awarded a penalty in the 13th minute of Tuesday’s first-leg tie at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when Raheem Sterling’s shot hit Danny Rose’s arm.
None of the players appealed at the time and it was only after the VAR official advised Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers to review the incident that the spot-kick was given, in line with UEFA’s directive on the handball law.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris ensured that it was not a potentially decisive moment, saving Sergio Aguero’s tame effort from 12 yards before the hosts went on to win 1-0.
Vertonghen has urged the decision-makers to think like footballers, saying he feared there could be a huge increase in penalties awarded once VAR is up and running in the Premier League next season.
“I think we have to change the way we defend,” he said. “We are not pulling people down but even a small touch, if you watch it 20 times in slow motion, it will give so many more penalties.
“I think you’ll see in the stats in the next few years in the Premier League, you will see at least 20, 30, 40 more penalties.
“I think we all need to adapt — the players, the referees and how they think as a player sometimes.
“Sometimes you can’t do anything else than put your body on the line and I don’t even know, but it’s important that referees think as a football player sometimes.
“You can’t even touch anyone. Before it was quite physical, but in a fair way. But now you are too scared to get close to someone.”
Rose said the ball hit his arm but said he did not believe his arm was “outside his body.”
“I’m not sure I can complain,” he added. “I haven’t seen it again. It did hit my arm but it certainly wasn’t intentional.”
“I’m just grateful Hugo saved it and we kept a massive clean sheet, scored at the end and have something to look forward to next week.
“It’s unnatural to try to defend a shot with your arms behind your back and I’m not sure that’s something the manager would be promoting. But there’s not much I can do, I have to learn from it.”




Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 victory in their quarterfinal clash against FC Porto on Tuesday. (AFP)

Meanwhile, elsewhere on Tuesday, Liverpool built a 2-0 lead over Porto heading into the second leg of the quarterfinals thanks to first-half goals by Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino at Anfield on Tuesday.
“Positive, good, we won 2-0 ... we controlled the game, had direction of the game,” said Klopp, whose only criticism of his players was for the number of free kicks they gave away in dangerous areas. “We knew we had to play the second game and we cannot decide the tie tonight.”


English football chiefs set for ‘difficult’ coronavirus decisions

The football governing bodies are set for more talks next week. (File/Reuters)
Updated 29 March 2020

English football chiefs set for ‘difficult’ coronavirus decisions

  • Three organizations study financial impact of suspending season, with Britain in state of lockdown

England’s Premier League, Professional Footballers’ Association and Football League are steadying themselves for some “difficult decisions” amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak as they try to see if there is a way of restarting the season.

The three organizations all met on Friday to examine the financial impact of suspending the season, with Britain as a whole in a state of lockdown.
“The Premier League, EFL and PFA discussed the growing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in a joint statement.
“It was stressed that the thoughts of all three organizations continue to be with everyone affected by the virus.
“The Premier League, EFL and PFA agreed that difficult decisions will have to be taken in order to mitigate the economic impact of the current suspension of professional football in England and agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions.”
Some clubs have asked players to defer up to half their wages, while players at Championship leaders Leeds, pushing for promotion to the lucrative Premier League, have volunteered for a wage deferral.
The governing bodies are set for more talks next week as they try to draw up a unified plan.
Last week saw the projected restart of the season pushed back until April 30, and that date has not moved.
“The leagues will not recommence until April 30 at the earliest. They will only do so when it is safe and conditions allow,” added the statement.
“Further meetings will take place next week with a view to formulating a joint plan to deal with the difficult circumstances facing the leagues, their clubs, players, staff and fans.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Football Association insisted they had no regrets about their announcement earlier this week that saw a host of lower division leagues declared null and void because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The decision taken to end the 2019/20 season across Steps 3-7 of the National League System, the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game was made by committee representatives for the respective leagues, and was supported by the FA Board and the FA Women’s Board,” the spokesperson said.
“It will now go to the FA Council for ratification. We fully support the decision they came to during these challenging and unprecedented circumstances for English football.”