Howard Webb Acknowledged Two Mistakes Benefiting City and United
The head of referees has acknowledged that Ake’s goal against Fulham should not have been counted and that Manchester United received an unjust penalty on Premier League Matchday 1.
Howard Webb, the head of the Premier League’s referees’ body, along with former Newcastle United player Michael Owen, examined the most controversial incidents from recent games and how they were handled in the VAR room.
Among the incidents discussed was Manchester City’s second goal against Fulham, which came from Nathan Ake’s header. Fulham players argued that the goal should have been disallowed because Manuel Akanji was in an offside position, obstructing the goalkeeper’s view.
In the fifth minute of added time in the first half, Ake headed in a corner. The ball passed near Akanji, who was judged to be offside, and although he made a movement as the ball went by, he did not make contact with it.
Tony Harrington, the VAR referee, stated, “We reviewed the goal. Akanji is definitely offside, but has he obstructed the goalkeeper’s vision? He moves away from the ball.”
“In my opinion, the goalkeeper made a complete save. It’s subjective, there could be some impact on the goalkeeper, but is it clear? I believe he saw the entire ball,” added VAR assistant Nunn.
However, Webb expressed his opinion on the show, stating that it was an error not to disallow the goal. “I believe it should have been disallowed. It seems like Akanji is interfering with Leno. It’s a clear offside situation, but it was not recognized at the time. It was a mistake,” said Webb, who refereed the 2010 World Cup final.
Webb also confirmed on the show that it was a mistake not to award a penalty to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their match against Manchester United on the first matchday, regarding Andre Onana’s tackle on Sasa Kalajdzic, and that Virgil Van Dijk’s sending-off against Newcastle United was correctly officiated.