Uefa drop VAR official who gave controversial PSG penalty vs Newcastle

A video review official who played a key part in the controversial decision to award Paris Saint-Germain a stoppage-time penalty against Newcastle has been removed from his Champions League game on Wednesday.

The decision contradicted Uefa’s own advice to referees, and PSG scored from the spot in a late equaliser which has dented Newcastle’s chances of staying in the competition.

At the Parc des Princes, Kylian Mbappe scored in the eighth minute of injury time after the spot-kick was awarded for handball. But the ball struck Tino Livramento in the chest, before deflecting onto his arm, but after the VAR review and consulting the pitch-side monitor, Polish referee Szymon Marciniak awarded the penalty.

Marciniak had initially allowed play to continue but after advisement from the video team, he changed his initial decision.

The VAR specialist from Poland, Tomasz Kwiatkowski, had been due to work at the match between Real Sociedad and Salzburg, but has been replaced by a German match official.

Players argued with the referee who impressed until the stoppage-time penalty decision

(AFP via Getty Images)

Marciniak is a highly regarded official who took charge of the Champions League final last season and the 2022 World Cup final, with the replaced Kwiatowski as part of his team.

Uefa declined to comment, in line with a policy not to discuss field of play decisions. The current rules of the game permit handballs to be penalised even if the contact was not intentional and after a deflection if a defender’s arm is judged to be in an unnatural position.

“But his hand is not in an unnatural position,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said after the game, “(his hands) are d “I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game,” Howe said. “There is nothing we can do about it now.” own by his side, but he is in a running motion.”

The penalty – and subsequent draw – keeps PSG two points ahead of Newcastle and occupying the second qualifying place for the knockout stages, behind leader Borussia Dortmund, who sealed their qualification on Tuesday.

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe, centre, was left furious by the controversial penalty which cost his side victory in Paris (Owen Humphreys/PA)

(PA Wire)

However, a Uefa panel of coaches and former players said in April that “no handball offense should be called on a player if the ball is previously deflected from his own body, and, in particular when the ball does not go towards the goal.”

The advice to be given to match officials this season was detailed by the panel, chaired by Uefa chief of football Zvonimir Boban, in a 25 April statement called: “Uefa Football Board urges more clarity on handball rule.”

“The handball rule, for example, will always be disputed, but we can make it more consistent and aligned with the game’s true nature,” Boban said in April.

The decision has left Newcastle’s future in the competition out of their hands, they need a win against AC Milan, and for PSG to drop points at Dortmund.

With reporting from Associated Press.



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