By Keith Hackett
Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka was fouled in the build up to France’s opening goal in their 2-1 win over England in the World Cup quarter-final on Saturday (10 December), according to Keith Hackett.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Uefa and Premier League referee called on Fifa and the IFAB to clarify whether VAR could have come in on the challenge.
Saka lost the ball to Dayot Upamecano on the edge of the France penalty area less than a minute before Aurelien Tchouameni opened the scoring with a long-range strike.
To my soccer haters: this is why players dive. If Saka goes down here he gets a foul and France don’t go up 1-0. Refereeing in general needs to be better, for the reputation of the game pic.twitter.com/QgACQ30e02
The challenge was ignored by referee Wilton Sampaio and VAR did not intervene.
“When you got to the big decisions, you have to say it’s a foul,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley.
“It’s a simple, easy foul. They are in an attacking position.
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“Where was the assistant referee? Not flagging to help the referee.
“Has this referee got a different relationship with his assistants? Refereeing is a team game and ypu’ve got to rely on your assistant referees.
“One of the great things about Howard Webb was he had had Mike Malarkey and Darren Cann with him on every game and it was almost like a sixth sense approach. They knew when to come in and not to come in. Howard knew if they were flagging there was need to come in.
“Was that a relationship between the referee and assistant referee good enough? After, not giving that free-kick, which was a clear foul, and several passes they score, unfortunately for the referee.
“That puts doubt into the minds of players about the referee.
“The game has got to have a degree of credibility. There was sufficient play so at what point can VAR go back? I think this was too far for it to be credible to disallow the goal and award the free-kick.
“Maybe in the future Fifa and the Ifab may give specific guidelines and criteria in order to gain consistency.
“It was a long time and personally, I don’t think they were in a position to go back.”
In other news, Kieran Maguire has claimed Arsenal are “trying to pull the wool over my eyes” amid a £64million reveal.
Arsenal news: Ex-Uefa official demands major Fifa change as Bukayo Saka embroiled in ‘big’ controversy – Football Insider
By Keith Hackett