Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal

Kyle Bonn

Refereeing officials in England have explained the decision not to have referee Martin Atkinson review the buildup to the Marcus Rashford first-half goal against Liverpool on Sunday, instead allowing the goal to stand without a further check.

According to a statement released by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) explains the decision not to review the incident and stick with Atkinson’s call on the field.

In the buildup to Rashford’s goal, Victor Lindelof picked Divock Origi‘s pocket to begin the move, but many believed there was enough contact for a foul to negate the play. The referees, however, are apparently wary of opening up every single call to review, instead looking to leave the technology for the most egregious mistakes.

“Firstly, the on-field referee didn’t think it was a foul and VAR checked/decided that it wasn’t a clear and obvious error to not award the foul,” the PGMOL said to Sky Sports after the match. “Secondly, VAR isn’t re-refereeing matches – there is contact but VAR was comfortable it wasn’t enough to disallow the goal.”

The “clear and obvious error” mantra has become household lexicon since the introduction of VAR, and looking at the play again, the PGMOL interpretation is likely correct. There’s not enough clear contact to Origi for the call to be a blatant mistake by Atkinson. Jurgen Klopp wasn’t happy about the decision to let the play stand, but he’ll have to accept the decision and move on as Liverpool failed to win for the first time this season.