The ridiculous penalty decision given by the referee and the Video Assistant Referee technology in the Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool caused plenty of controversy at the time and fans and pundits were split.
Dean Saunders was one of the few who called it correctly despite his allegiance to Anfield as he pointed out that it was a perfectly natural arm movement in the game, and on top of that, it hit his chest before his arm, so in no way could be considered a deliberate handball.
The Women’s World Cup this summer saw even more VAR controversy (if you were watching) with handballs being a prominent feature again as IFAB continue to tweak the rules but with the technology being implemented in the Premier League for the 2019/20 campaign, referee chief Mike Riley has now categorically stated to The Times that if that scenario repeated itself, under our applicable, it would not result in a penalty.
“Sissoko’s a really interesting one. In real time it looks a clear penalty. With VAR you can actually see what he’s doing, and he’s not interested in trying to block the cross, he’s saying to the covering defender, ‘Get over there and fill the space.’ That’s not a deliberate act of extending the arm away from the body. You also see the ball deflects off the chest on to the arm, and if you put everything together and apply the philosophy we do here, we wouldn’t say that was handball.”
He also explained that the penalty awarded against Danny Roe in the quarter-final tie with Manchester City would not have been approved either.
Not that it counts for much now mind you, but at least it means we shouldn’t see such nonsense again.