PGMOL chief offers explanation for Andre Onana VAR mistake against Wolves

PGMOL chief Howard Webb has admitted VAR should have recommended a review of the collision between Andre Onana and Sasa Kalajdzic in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening weekend of the season.

On what was Onana’s debut, United were 1-0 up heading into the dying embers when the goalkeeper collided with Kalajdzic, making no contact with the ball and instead wiping out the Wolves striker.

On-field referee Simon Hooper did not award a penalty and, after a VAR check, a goal kick was awarded as the video official declined to even suggest a review of the decision.

PGMOL immediately apologised for not highlighting the issue during the game, which ended 1-0 in United‘s favour, and now Webb has offered further insight into the decision.

“I think from the outset I want to say that should have led to an intervention by VAR,” Webb told the Premier League’s Match Officials Mic’d Up. “We should have seen a video review being recommended and the referee should have gone to the screen. I’m confident he would have seen the images that we’ve seen and would have awarded a penalty.

“We hear the VAR in this circumstance going through the checking phase once the penalty has not been awarded and he is describing what he has seen – Onana coming out and contact with the Wolves player, Kalajdzic.

“[The VAR] starts to go down the road, I believe, towards recommending a video review, but then he overthinks it a little bit. Sometimes the VARs can do that. They’re trying to identify what the game would expect in terms of what is and isn’t a clear and obvious error.

“And when he sees these two players come together, he knows that sometimes that can happen and it’s not a foul. In this case quite interestingly neither Onana nor Kalajdzic plays the ball, so he sees in the end that as a coming together, a collision of two players, and decided not to intervene.

“But the difference in this one is that Onana jumps into the Wolves player. Kalajdzic is just jumping up and not into Onana. So it’s not two players coming together, it’s one going into the other.

“We didn’t recommend a review. We should have done. We acknowledge that as an error, which, of course, was disappointing. We took the learning from that, obviously, to try and ensure going forward that type of error doesn’t happen again.

“We think it’s important we acknowledge clear errors. When it’s clear like this one, we don’t want people to benchmark against this situation. This was clearly wrong – if this happens the following week, we expect a penalty to be given. So, I think it’s only right we acknowledge errors when they happen, acknowledge that wasn’t correct; and we expect to see something different next time.”


On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby CudworthGraeme Bailey and Sean Walsh to discuss the deals that did and didn’t happen on deadline day. They talk over Ryan Gravenberch’s move to Liverpool, why Joao Palhinha didn’t join Bayern Munich, Sofyan Amrabat’s loan to Man Utd and more.

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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