Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Gary O’Neil blasts Premier League and VAR

Gary O’Neil, the head coach of Wolverhampton Wanderers, has once again expressed his concerns about the quality of officiating in the Premier League. He highlighted that his team had experienced three contentious decisions in their first ten games of the season before their recent match against Sheffield United.

In that game, a fourth controversial decision arose when Fabio Silva was penalized for a foul on George Baldock inside the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick for Sheffield United, which they converted to secure a 2-1 victory. While the on-field referee immediately awarded the penalty, replays showed minimal contact, with Silva appearing to pull out of the challenge and Baldock seemingly instigating the contact. This incident was similar to a recent one involving Hwang Hee-chan and Newcastle United’s Fabian Schar, where VAR chose not to overturn the decision.

After the match, O’Neil revealed that he had a conversation with referee Robert Jones, who maintained that the penalty decision was correct.


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O’Neil criticized the state of VAR in the Premier League, describing the penalty call as “mad.”

O’Neil stated, “I can’t say much except that it’s not a penalty. I spoke to the referee, who claims there was contact. I’ve reviewed it multiple times, and it shows minimal contact between Fabio Silva’s shin pad and George Baldock’s calf. If that’s a foul, then there were numerous fouls in that match today. The referee was too hasty to give it, and it’s not a clear penalty. He should have calmly waited, and if he made a significant error, VAR could correct it. It’s not a penalty kick.”

He further expressed his frustration, saying, “I don’t know what to do with it. We’re told to have a reasonable conversation, but I did, and he [Robert Jones] still insisted it was a penalty. This indicates that we’re in a difficult situation. Baldock knew to move his foot across; he went down before the contact. The referee claimed not to have seen that, which suggests we’re in a troublesome situation. We need to improve, though. We can’t allow these bizarre decisions to dictate our outcomes. We’ve lost six points due to them this season.”

On another disappointing day for VAR, Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta criticized the decision to allow Newcastle United’s decisive goal as “an absolute disgrace” and “embarrassment.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ defeat leaves them in 13th place in the Premier League standings, seven points above the relegation zone, with a match against Tottenham Hotspur scheduled for November 11.

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