Bet Slip

No Bets Added

Biggest VAR Blunders Since its Introduction to the Premier League


Biggest VAR Blunders Since its Introduction to the Premier League

Sometimes in football, fine margins are the difference between success and failure in a game or campaign. Four years on from its introduction, VAR is still finding its feet and hitting the headlines for calamitous decisions in the English top-flight.

Arguably, it’s not the fault of the technology, but the implementation, with human error still at the forefront of the discussion. We will start with the latest incident which will make the most tolerant supporters seethe with disbelief.


September 30, 2023: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool

Liverpool were the latest victims to fall foul with a glaring VAR mistake, with reds forward Luis Diaz beating the offside trap to convert coolly when baring down on goal. Even though the on-field referee made the mistake, the goal was chalked off after the technology was brought in to show Diaz was clearly onside, culminating in a horrendous mistake.

What caused VAR to make such a high-profile mistake? Despite VAR officials Darren England and Dan Cook believing the on-field decision was a goal, a calamitous form of communication emphasises that they foolishly gave the ‘check complete’ sign to assume a goal would be given.

The cliché used in football is goals change games. Who knows what the outcome of this match would have been? But this ridiculous VAR decision certainly impacted on the outcome of this fixture, with Liverpool valiantly battling until the end despite two red cards.

Arguably, this lapse in concentration was the biggest blunder by VAR since its graced the Premier League.

August 14, 2023: Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

It’s fair to say the Erik Ten Haag era at Old Trafford has had its ups and downs despite winning silverware in his first season as head coach. The Red Devils were certainly in luck on the opening game after a fighting Wolves side were compounded to another dismal VAR decision. United stopper Andre Onana had a rush of blood to his head and performed something akin to Tyson Fury in the boxing ring. A cross from the right came in and he completely wiped out Sasa Kalajdzic as he was about to head towards goal.

VAR took their time to check the footage and concluded that no penalty was to be awarded. It was a shambolic decision, and despite the Kalajdzic being clattered in what would be described as assault outside of the footballing sphere, referee Simon Hooper wasn’t directed by VAR official Michael Salisbury to go to the screen to check.

Post-game, the PGMOL apologised to Wolves, but that will mean very little as it prevented a battling Wolves side to what would have been a deserved point.

April 8, 2023: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Brighton

After a tough period for Spurs with Antonio Conte departing and Spurs struggling in the league, one of the high points of caretaker manager Cristian Stellini's tenure was marred in VAR controversy.

At a key point in the game, Kaoru Mitoma was felled by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg inside the box. In what was a blatant foul, Brighton didn’t win a penalty and to rub salt into the wound, Harry Kane scored the decisive goal just moments later. Albion could have been on the cusp of three points but left with zero.

To add further insult to injury, VAR ruled out TWO Seagulls’ goals earlier in the match to add to the misery for Roberto De Zerbi’s side.

PGMOL chief Howard Webb apologised for this VAR error, which has become a recurring theme over the past couple of seasons after Michael Salisbury (VAR official) didn’t intervene.

February 11, 2023: Arsenal 1-1 Brentford

More VAR controversy made its way to North London but this time at Arsenal. Mikel Arteta was left reeling after a shambolic mistake by Lee Mason saw Ivan Toney level proceedings when fellow Bee Christian Norgaard was clearly in an offside position.

Offside decisions seems to be a consistent and persistent issue for VAR in the Premier League, and Arsenal may feel this impacted the title race at a crucial point in the season.

Despite every Premier League goal being checked by VAR, this one somehow went through the cracks. Mason was in two minds as to whether Ethan Pinnock was interfering with play prior to the goal, that he somehow forgot to get the lines drawn for Toney’s’ equaliser. This clanger resulted in a PGMOL apology to Arteta, which the Gunners boss wasn’t satisfied with.

June 17, 2020: Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United

Sheffield United fans will have been screaming down their TV screens at this howler of a decision, which to this day is one of a kind in VAR messes. The Blades will have been perplexed as they returned from a 100-day hiatus to score what seemed a certain goal. Nope, not according to the officials.

Oliver Norwood’s free-kick was fumbled over the line by Villa keeper Orjan Nyland, but the goal-line technology didn’t alert on-field referee Michael Oliver, to the bemusement of everyone. This certainly gave Frank Lampard’s’ strike against Germany at the 2010 World Cup a run for its money.

Hawk-eye, the technology lined up to clarify whether the ball crosses the line had a systematic issue, even with that it is hard to lay the blame fully with technology on this one, as the referee made a blunder of his own.