UEFA suspends VAR technology after Paris Saint-Germain’s penalty kick against Newcastle

UEFA has taken the VAR technology that awarded Paris Saint-Germain’s controversial extra-time penalty against Newcastle United in the Champions League, out of service during Wednesday night’s match.

Polish video assistant referee Tomasz Kwiatkowski sent referee Simon Marciniak to the pitch screen in the 96th minute of Tuesday’s match after the ball struck Tino Livramento’s arm, increasing his body size and creating a barrier.

Marciniak reversed his decision and awarded the penalty to Paris Saint-Germain, which Kylian Mbappe converted to earn the hosts a crucial 1-1 draw that left qualification for the last 16 in the hands of the French club.

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Kwiatkowski was scheduled to play the role of video assistant referee (VAR) in Wednesday’s match between Real Sociedad and Salzburg, but the role will now be assumed by German referee Marco Fritz.

It is a sign that UEFA believes the decision to award the penalty was an error on Kwiatkowski’s part, which could have serious implications for Newcastle’s hopes of reaching the knockout rounds.

In the 71st minute of the match, the ball hit the arm of Newcastle’s Louis Miley in similar circumstances, but VAR did not intervene.

However, even though the ball deflected off Livramento’s body before hitting his arm, this alone does not count as a consideration against the penalty kick. Livramento’s arm position was not extended away from his body and was a result of his body movement, so it should not have been a handball violation.

In April, UEFA’s Football Council, a group of former players and coaches that acts as an advisory body, He said that deviations from the body on the arm should not be punished. However, this recommendation was not implemented because it conflicts with FIFA’s guidelines for handball as a blanket exception.

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If all deviations from the body result in an automatic clearance, players can get away with blocking crosses with their arms outstretched. Only if a player intentionally kicks or heads the ball and it hits his outstretched arm is a handball violation automatically ruled out.

Handball is punished more severely in European Union competitions than in any domestic league. The frequency of penalty kicks for handball is more than double that of La Liga, the league with the highest number of penalties, and nearly four times that of the English Premier League.

Champions League: 0.234 (46 in 197 games)
La Liga: 0.110 (57 in 518)
Bundesliga: 0.099 (41 in 414)
Serie A: 0.090 (46 in 510)
Ligue 1: 0.086 (34 in 494)
Premier League: 0.062 (31 in 500)

The statistics show the number of handball penalty kicks per match since the beginning of last season.

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