The VAR audio for Scott McTominay's disallowed goal vs Fulham has caused debate
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The three-minute VAR audio for Scott McTominay's disallowed goal against Fulham has sparked plenty of debate online.
Earlier this month, McTominay's effort in the eighth minute was initially awarded as a goal after Christian Eriksen curled a free-kick to the far post, where Alejandro Garnacho squared it to the Scotland international.
But after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was later overturned by referee John Brooks as the review identified Harry Maguire being in an offside position.
Maguire made a 'clear attempt' to reach Eriksen’s free-kick, thus interfering with play.
As you can see in the clip below, referee Brooks was advised by the VAR, Jarred Gillett, to go to the pitchside monitor as it was a subjective offside call.
"Just being in an offside position in itself isn't an offence. It all depends on what you do when you're in that position," Webb said.
"If you touch the ball as an attacker in an offside position or play the ball then that's an offence of interfering with play. That's factual and when that happens, the referee doesn't need to go to the screen.
"But you can also commit an offence without touching the ball as an attacker in an offside position. It all depends on what you do in that position and that needs a judgement by the match officials. It depends whether you interfere with an opponent.
"What we see Harry Maguire do here is attempt to play a ball that's close to him, he challenges an opponent for the ball and he makes an obvious action by moving towards that defender Rodrigo Muniz which impacts his ability to play the ball.
"If you take Maguire out of that situation, Muniz has got an opportunity to clear the ball before it gets to [Alejandro] Garnacho. But it needs a judgement by the officials, so the VAR will ask the referee to go to the screen to make that subjective just like the referee does in all the other subjective areas of the game. A good intervention and correctly the referee was sent to the screen."
Speaking on Match Officials: Mic'd Up, PGMOL chief Howard Webb explains why Harry Maguire's goal against Fulham was ruled out for offside using the pitch-side monitor 👇 pic.twitter.com/OqicmIzL4B— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 14, 2023
Here's how social media reacted to the VAR audio.
One fan said: "Nothing says clear and obvious more than 3 and half minutes checking an offside," while another commented: "The amount going on here is absurd. Even if this is the correct decision (subjective), 3 and a half minutes has replaced what used to be a couple of seconds of decision making."
A third wrote: "Destroying the game. If the ref has given a goal and they can only find an infraction by a forensic look at the offside line then just stop right there and allow the goal. No one would complain."
A fourth said: "So their issue is Maguire attempts to play the ball. So if Maguire just stops his run and makes no attempt to play the ball - he still would have drawn that defender to him & Garnacho still would have been free, but per this convo it'd be fine? Still doesn't make sense to me."
A fifth added: "Surely if it's subjective then they should just be telling the referee to decide whether he thinks Maguire is interfering and not saying they're confident that he is..completely skews his opinion. Not to mention this happens all the time and is never given as offside."
You can read a full transcript of the incident below:
REF: On-field decision, goal.
VAR: Brooksy (referee John Brooks), checking the goal.
VAR: So the ball was played by (Alejandro) Garnacho. Just roll the whole thing through.
RO: Sure, yeah. Playing through now.
VAR: Garnacho crosses the ball back. There's no further offside. So it's just a possible offside on Garnacho from the kick.
RO: So on this first one here.
VAR: Frame two please.
RO: Cool, yeah. Just looking for a tighter angle now. Can zoom in on this one. Frame two? So frame one. Frame two. Frame three. So this is frame two.
VAR: Alright, so if you just hover the lines please. It's possibly…possibly 19. Or possibly Tim Ream. So let's just get the defender up on 19 first. Just using crosshairs, Brooksy. Possible offside, Garnacho.
RO: So on which body part?
VAR: Shoulder of the 19.
RO: Ok. This would be shoulder of the 19.
VAR: To the right. One to the right.
VAR: I'm happy there. Are you comfortable he's the second rearmost, Sian (AVAR)?
AVAR: Yeah. I agree, for me.
VAR: Lock it in there.
RO: Lock it in, yeah. That's up on the shoulder now.
VAR: OK, that's fine. I'm happy with one line. Can you just lock one line in?
RO: OK, sure.
VAR: I'm comfortable Garnacho is clearly onside with one line. And you can play it through for me.
AVAR: Is there any impact from 5 on the 19 as this ball comes over?
VAR: Maguire attempts to play the ball. Just got back again for me.
AVAR: Yeah, any impact on the 19's ability to play the ball?
VAR: Just go back to the offside position for me.
RO: Offside position, yeah.
VAR: Just to check Harry Maguire.
RO: So do you want to draw offside lines again?
VAR: Yes please. Yeah. So Maguire attempts to play the ball.
AVAR: With impact on the ability… I mean we might need a high behind to check how close they are? Between the 19 and the 5.
RO: Ok, so do you want to draw on 19 still?
VAR: Yes please. Lock it in. Brooksy (referee), now just checking Harry Maguire.
RO: So happy there on the defender. And attacker?
VAR: Left shoulder.
REF: Possible impact mate, is that what you're saying?
RO: Left shoulder.
VAR: Yes, possible impact - Harry Maguire.
VAR: So left please.
RO: Left, yeah.
VAR: Left. One to the right.
RO: One to the right.
VAR: Happy there, lock it in.
RO: OK, yeah. That's on the shoulder.
VAR: So Harry Maguire will be in an offside position. Now we'll just check to see the consequence of the attempt to play.
RO: Do you want to send these lines now?
VAR: Lock it in.
RO: Ok, yeah.
VAR: Roll that through.
RO: Sure. So rolling through now.
VAR: So Harry Maguire is offside. We just need another angle there. So for me, that's attempting…
AVAR: Attempting to play with impact, for me.
VAR: Challenging an opponent for the ball and he's offside. He doesn't touch the ball so it'll be a subjective decision.
AVAR: He doesn't touch the ball but he does impact for me on the ability of the other opponent to play the ball.
VAR: It'll be a subjective decision so we need an on-field review.
AVAR: I agree.
VAR: Challenging an opponent for the ball.
VAR: Right, Brooksy (ref). I'm going to recommend an on-field review for a subjective offside decision against Harry Maguire. Challenging an opponent for the ball.
RO: Ok, do you want to show him offside position first?
VAR: Yes please.
REF [to player]: I will talk in a minute. I will talk in a minute.
VAR: So I am going to show you the offside position first.
REF: Yeah and then I'll talk you through what I see mate. So number five, you are comfortable he is in an offside position.
VAR: Yes, we have used the lines. Harry Maguire is clearly offside.
REF: Ok, ahead of that outstretched foot, yeah? Or his arm, yeah? So Harry Maguire's…that's arm…so Harry Maguire's in an offside position, yeah. Roll it through.
VAR: Now we'll show you the challenge for the ball.
RO: I'll play it through once from here and then I'll switch.
VAR: And I'll show you another angle…I'll show you another angle from behind.
REF: I see Harry Maguire attempt to play the ball, clearly impacting the defender behind him even though he doesn't touch it and it's an offside offence, even though it goes to the player behind. So offside, six-yard box.
VAR: I agree. Confirmed.
REF [to players]: Offside. Let me tell you. Harry Maguire is in an offside position, clearly, and he challenges for the ball. It's offside. The player who scores is onside.