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Keith Hackett slams VAR use as Newcastle United count cost of another mistake

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Referees are being “hung out to dry” after a number of high-profile VAR decisions in a matter of days, believes former top-flight referee chief Keith Hackett. 

What’s the latest Newcastle United news?

Newcastle were on the end of one of many controversial VAR calls this weekend after Tyrick Mitchell’s own goal in Saturday’s Premier League draw with Crystal Palace was ruled out because Joe Willock was adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

As Willock himself asserts, footage of the incident appears to show Mitchell pushing the United midfielder into Guaita, with Eddie Howe left to rue another call against his team. Indeed, that followed Callum Wilson’s strike against Brighton last month being chalked off for a supposed high boot, while Fabian Schar could well have had a penalty awarded to him against Manchester City.

Across the weekend, VAR was heavily involved. David Moyes fumed at a “rotten” decision to rule out Maxwel Cornet’s equaliser against Chelsea, while Mikel Arteta labeled the supposed foul on Christian Eriksen to tee up an Arsenal goal in their loss to Manchester United later disallowed as “soft”.

The PGMOL are understood to have effectively accepted the wrong decision was made in regards to both Newcastle and West Ham as controversy and debate over the technology continues to swirl.

What has been said of the use of VAR in England?

Speaking to the Press Association, Hackett said: “We’re in our fourth season of VAR and we’re not operating it well.

“These officials don’t get to the Premier League without being good referees. In some ways they have been made to look foolish this weekend by what has happened. They must feel that they’ve been let down.

“They have been hung out to dry because there’s no leadership. There’s no guidance, there’s no coaching.

“That ultimately has to come down to the person running the organisation (Riley). The interaction between the referee and the VAR is suspect.

“One of the reasons for that is you’ve got current referees who might referee on a Saturday suddenly becoming a VAR on a Sunday. I don’t think that’s conducive to good officiating.”

What has been said of Newcastle’s disallowed goal?

Speaking on Match of the Day, Alan Shearer said: “VAR is not the problem, its the people – as I keep saying – that are the problem.

“It’s a shocking decision.”

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