Maguire ‘choke-hold’ clip could be ‘catalyst’ for VAR change

Premier League clubs are reviewing clips of incidents such as Harry Maguire’s ‘choke-hold’ on Cesar Azpilicueta as the league looks to improve VAR, according to a report.

Manchester United and Chelsea went toe-to-toe in driving rain at an empty Old Trafford in October last year, where Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy capped a fine performance with a superb late save to prevent Marcus Rashford snatching a second last-gasp victory of the week.

United had edged the 0-0 draw but Frank Lampard – and probably most people watching the match – felt his side should have been awarded a first-half penalty after Maguire grabbed Azpilicueta in the box.

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The Spaniard felt it should have been a penalty and questioned the lack of VAR intervention, Azpilicueta told Sky Sports at the time: “On the pitch, yes I felt it was. I felt his arms around my neck and shoulder.

“The referee can make the decision and VAR is there. It is difficult but I would encourage the referee to go and look at the monitor. It is there to help so why not take 20 seconds to go and review it?

“Contact happens in football and I don’t say all contact is a penalty. No, far from that. But we all need to work together to make the game better.”

Former Chelsea boss Lampard echoed his captain’s view on the incident, having been left bemused at the lack of help from the VAR.

“I thought it was a clear penalty,” Lampard said. “Clear penalty. Obviously I didn’t see at the time from where I’m standing. They are hard calls for referees on the pitch, but the VAR was very quick to dismiss it in my opinion.

“I think they should have taken time, advised the referee to watch the monitor.

“I think if he watches the monitor, he has to give the penalty if he sees it back again, so it’s very confusing.”

And now the Daily Mail claim the incident ‘is one of the clips sent to clubs by Premier League chiefs as they seek to improve VAR’  with the clip of Maguire and Azpilicueta ‘being used as catalyst for change’.

The Daily Mail added:

“It is understood that clubs were sent a series of clips of incidents since VAR was introduced at the start of last season, with the Maguire/Azpilicueta clash thought to have been among them.

“They were asked to watch each clip, then presented with yes/no questions about whether VAR should have intervened, and whether the right decision was reached. Club representatives were then invited to explain briefly their answers.

“At the end of the questionnaire, they were given the opportunity to say how they thought the system could be made better. While the power to change the laws belongs to IFAB, the Premier League are keen to canvass opinion across their competition following a number of difficulties this season and last.”



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