Daily Mail

It’s official: Arteta in the wrong with his ref rant


MIKEL Arteta was wrong to launch his furious attack on officials after Arsenal’s controvers­ial defeat at Newcastle, insists referees’ chief Howard Webb.

The Gunners boss said he felt ‘embarrasse­d’ and ‘ sick’ after Anthony Gordon’s winner was awarded earlier this month. The Spaniard was supported by a strong statement from his club.

But after reviewing the three disputed incidents that preceded Gordon’s goal, Webb concluded the right call had been made.

Speaking on Match Officials Mic’d Up on Sky Sports and TNT Sports, Webb explained: ‘ The VAR went through that diligently and identified no clear evidence to intervene to overturn the goal. The process actually was correct.

‘It was an unusual situation with three aspects for the VAR to check.’ One of the most scrutinise­d aspects of the decision was the challenge by Joelinton on defender Gabriel immediatel­y before Gordon turned the ball home. Webb added: ‘It could be a foul, it might be a foul. The VAR decides the evidence from the footage isn’t clear enough to intervene for a review for a clear error. The opinion split since suggests that was a correct non-interventi­on.’

Neither Kai Havertz nor Bruno Guimaraes were shown a red card for poor challenges, which Webb judged was incorrect. ‘Going forward we would expect red cards in those situations,’ he said.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil has more reason than most to be frustrated with officials as several calls have gone against his side. In their 2-2 draw with Newcastle on October 28, Fabian Schar was awarded a penalty when he tumbled near Hwang Hee-chan, even though the Wolves man did not appear to make serious contact.

Webb said Anthony Taylor’s onfield decision should have been overturned and advised VAR officials to ask more questions of their colleagues on the field. He said: ‘We feel this reached the threshold for being a clear and obvious error. We are asking VARs to look and if they don’t like the situation on the field, to ask the referee what they have seen.

‘If it’s significan­tly different to what is being shown on the video, they should ask the referee to go to the screen and look again.’

Webb also did not commit to bringing semi-automated offside technology to England, which is being used in some European leagues including Italy’s Serie A.

He was lukewarm when asked about it, saying: ‘We are doing testing behind the scenes and keeping a close eye on other competitio­ns. We will take decisions on the best way to go forward.’

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