Date: 15th February 2021 at 5:30pm
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Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has slammed the officiating crew in charge of West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United.

The Baggies held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in their fight against the drop, but were incredibly lucky not to have given away a spot-kick in the second half. Referee Craig Pawson initially awarded a penalty after adjudging Semi Ajayi to have brought down Harry Maguire in the box, but having consulted VAR, changed his mind and reversed his decision.

And speaking exclusively to This Is Futbol, Halsey points out that Maguire was offside anyway, but the way the whole situation was handled certainly could have gone a lot better.

He said: “What’s the IFAB protocol – you check that passage of play leading up to the penalty. So that passage of play leading up to the penalty, Harry Maguire was clearly offside. So Craig Pawson shouldn’t have even gone to the monitor. I know that the Premier League have come out with a statement by saying had he still given a penalty, then they will have checked the offside – that’s absolute rubbish. Because had he still thought that was a penalty, he would have given it. You check the offside before you go to the monitor.

“So you know, they’ve got that all wrong. So I think it’s left everyone mystified, mystified on that situation.”

Halsey’s words here just point out how unfortunate West Bromwich Albion could have been if referee Pawson had stuck with his original decision and hadn’t been advised to check the VAR monitor, because it could have been disastrous for them.

Whilst things might look bleak for them at the moment, they are still mathematically in with a chance and every point is a vital one. And the fact they managed to hold title-chasing Manchester United as well will surely serve as a huge boost.

And it shows that whilst VAR is still a very controversial matter in the eyes of some fans, there are some points where the blame falls on the people using the technology, rather than the technology itself.