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Hundreds of Norwich City fans back call for VAR to be scrapped after Pukki 'goal' ruled out

PUBLISHED: 16:14 29 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:15 29 December 2019

Teemu Pukki of Norwich scores but the

Teemu Pukki of Norwich scores but the "goal" is disallowed for offside by VAR during last Saturday's Premier League game aganst Tottenham at Carrow Road

Paul Chesterton

Furious Norwich City fans have called for the Premier League's Video Assisted Referee (VAR) system to be scrapped, after a 'goal' which would have put the Canaries 2-0 up against Tottenham was ruled out.

Teemu Pukki put the ball in the back of the net, but it was chalked off by the VAR officials for offside. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdTeemu Pukki put the ball in the back of the net, but it was chalked off by the VAR officials for offside. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Angry supporters at Saturday's Carrow Road clash, which ended in a 2-2 draw, unveiled a banner which read: "VAR clearly and obviously not working. Decision: Put it in the bin".

And pundits bemoaned how Teemu Pukki's strike had not been allowed to stand.

The Finn appeared to have doubled the lead for the Canaries, already 1-0 up against Jose Mourinho's team thanks to a Mario Vrancic strike.

But VAR chalked it off, after the Hawk-Eye technology was used to create lines adjudging Pukki to be mere millimetres offside.

City fans voice their displeasure at VAR through banners. Picture: AlongComeNorwichCity fans voice their displeasure at VAR through banners. Picture: AlongComeNorwich

Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: "More nonsense from VAR. Pukki goal ruled out when level. If you have to draw lines and dots and it's still not clear one way or the other, then please stop undermining the on-field officials. Absurd."

Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas said it was "ruining the game" and should not be used to judge offsides.

We asked the Premier League questions about the decision, but they have not given on-the-record answers.

Sections of its website explain the protocols of VAR, when it is used for checks and how it is used to determine offsides.

Gary Lineker. Pic: Isabel Infantes/PA WireGary Lineker. Pic: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

The Premier League says offside decisions "a factual call based on evidence from fully calibrated offside lines".

But chants of "It's not football anymore" reverberated around Carrow Road, as supporters voiced their displeasure.

Fan groups Along Came Norwich and Barclay End Norwich were among those to express their dissatisfaction.

Along Came Norwich said they would support a call for co-ordinated protests from clubs against the use of VAR, while Barclay End Norwich tweeted: "Stop ruining live football."

In an EDP poll, which more than 1,000 took part in, more than 80pc said VAR should go.

The national Fans Against VAR, group, backed the Canaries fans who unfurled the banner.

VAR was introduced in the Premier League this season.

The Premier League has said it will not achieve 100 per cent accuracy, but says it has risen to 91pc.

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These are the questions we asked the Premier League:

1. What is the official explanation for why Teemu Pukki's goal was ruled out? (We know it was for offside, but can you explain further in terms of how the decision was reached/what was measured in each player/which body part was judged to be offside?)

2. Can you explain why the benefit of doubt was not given to the striker and to the on-field decision by officials?

3. What criteria triggered the use of the technology in that incident? Did the referee request assistance?

4. Was VAR used when the ball was passed to Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who appeared to be in an offside position which led to the Tottenham freekick and their equaliser? If so, what was decided? If not, why not?

5. How many times was VAR used during the game? And what was it used to check?

6. Why can't fans in the stadium be kept better informed of what is going on with the process?

7. Some fans feel VAR is destroying the joy of watching a game inside stadiums (partially because of the lack of clarity/explanation on what is happening). Will you be reviewing what works and what doesn't in terms of that communication?

8. Would you agree VAR has been ineffective?

9. What sort of reviews of its effectiveness have been / will be done?

10. If VAR is here to stay, will consideration be given to changing the rules around offside, to give the benefit of doubt to the attacking player? VAR seems to have stopped that, unless you want to correct us!

A spokesman for the Premier League said they would not go on record with answers to those questions.

However, their website contains a section on how offsides are determined using VAR.

The Premier League says offside is objective, not subjective - based on evidence provided by fully calibrated offside lines.

The concept of the attacking player being given the benefit of the doubt no longer exists in such circumstances, no matter how much that feels against the spirit of the game.

And for those citing the 'clear and obvious' test, The Premier League website states: "Factual decisions such as whether a player is onside or offside, or inside or outside the penalty area, will not be subject to the clear and obvious test."

That test is used in "match-changing" situations - namely goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity, where VAR is used to consider whether subjective decisions made by officials, such as the award or not of penalties, should be rescinded or given.

And that takes us to whether Harry Kane was offside when the ball, handled by Jamal Lewis and leading to the free kick from which Tottenham scored, was played.

Because none of the four 'match-changing' situations applied in that direct passage of play, the protocol is that VAR could not be used to judge if Kane was offside.

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