Leeds United

Leeds United: Graham Smyth claims Mark Halsey called West Ham VAR decision ‘garbage’

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Leeds United writer Graham Smyth has claimed that former Premier League referee Mark Halsey told him a recent decision against the club was ‘garbage’.

During Leeds’ last outing, they fell to a 2-0 defeat in the third round of the FA Cup. The Whites went behind in the game following a slice of help from the officials, when they failed to penalise a seemingly offside Jarrod Bowen, who looked to be involved in the build-up to Manuel Lanzini’s goal.

At the time, many fans were understandably furious. It now seems as though their anger was justified, with Halsey supposedly saying West Ham United’s first goal should not have stood.

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Indeed, while speaking on a Leeds United YEP Facebook video, Smyth said that the former referee slammed the call as well as the official explanation for it.

Smyth said: “I chatted with former Premier League referee Mark Halsey over this. When I gave him the explanation, I had barely finished my sentence before he was saying, ‘garbage, rubbish, rubbish’.

“He doesn’t believe that the explanations that come out, after VAR decisions like this, are worth their salt.”

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After the game, the Yorkshire Evening Post explained VAR’s interpretation of the incident, writing: “VAR and AVAR felt that Bowen’s movements and actions did not clearly impact the ability of [Illan] Meslier to attempt to make a save. The phase of play was then re-set and when [Nikola] Vlasic played the ball again Bowen was in an onside position.”

It seems that Halsey simply did not feel as if this understanding of the laws applies to that moment. The former referee will certainly feel as if his opinion is valid as he spent 14 years working as a Premier League official.

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Whatever that opinion, the VAR call – and a later goal by Bowen – means that Leeds are now out of the FA Cup. They will no doubt hope for better luck in the remainder of their season as they aim to avoid relegation back down to the Championship.

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