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Official PGMOL statement after VAR’s Manchester United and André Onana Burnley decision



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Credit: Premier League

Howard Webb, chief operating officer of PGMOL, has explained why VAR had to impact the game after Manchester United keeper Andre Onana appeared to foul a Burnley player in the penalty box.

With United winning the match leading into the final ten minutes, Onana made a calamitous error, with a VAR intervention resulting in a penalty being awarded against the Red Devils.

After a poor header from Casemiro, Onana decided to come off his line in an attempt to win the ball. In actuality, Onana was far too late to have any chance of success, with his teammate Aaron Wan-Bissaka dealing with the ball well before Onana reached it.

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With Onana’s momentum carrying him through, the United keeper would wipe out Burnley forward Zeke Amdouni, with VAR ultimately awarding a penalty.

The incident mirrored United’s opening game of the Premier League season against Wolves, in which Onana would again foul a player after the ball was cleared.

In the Wolves game, the on-field referee missed the incident, and VAR elected not to intervene, something Webb would call a mistake in the weeks following.

Discussing the similarities between the two incidents, Webb has stated the PGMOL’s official stance on VAR’s decision to intervene and subsequently award Burnley the penalty.

“This is very similar [to the Wolves incident],” Webb explained on the latest edition of Match Officials Mic’d Up. “Onana coming out and not making contact with the ball, making heavy contact with his opponent, not seen by the referee on the field.

“He sees [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka head the ball away but doesn’t see the contact on Amdouni, and the VAR sees that pretty quickly.

“It’s a clear error not to award the penalty kick, and therefore VAR recommends that the referee looks at it at the screen for himself and sees that heavy contact. And it is a penalty kick and there’s no support for non-award of a penalty. Hence the reason it’s a clear error.

“And we called it correctly, and it’s pretty efficient as well. So another good use of VAR. And thankfully, this one was called correctly.”

As a result of the on-field referee missing Onana’s foul, the Cameroon international was not cautioned, something that Webb was quick to add he believes should have happened:

“I think there’s a recklessness to it,” Webb pointed out. “On the day he wasn’t cautioned. I think that that would have been the right outcome to show a yellow card as well for a reckless action.

“I don’t think it’s serious foul play. I don’t think there’s excessive force or brutality in that challenge, but there’s an element of recklessness. And that would normally lead to a yellow card.”

This season Onana has six yellow cards in all competitions, five of which have come in the Premier League.