Keith Hackett baffled by VAR controversy in West Ham United 1-2 loss v Liverpool
Ex-FIFA referee Keith Hackett was furious with VAR official Neil Swarbrick for not awarding West Ham a penalty in their loss to Liverpool on Wednesday (27 April).
The Hammers turned in a strong performance and felt they should have been awarded a penalty late on when Thiago handled the ball in the box while lunging to win a challenge.
The ball struck his arm but officials ruled he was using it to break his fall, meaning it wasn’t handball, but Hackett disagreed with the decision and questioned why the referee wasn’t asked to take a look or himself on the pitch-side monitor.
“Well I am not surprised that David Moyes was unhappy,” he wrote on his personal Twitter account (27 April).
“When a player falls to the ground the palm of his hand flattens to break the fall. This player went to ground to stop the ball.
“Where as Swarbrick VAR to advise the referee to review and look at the monitor.”
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When questioned by a fan about if he would have given a penalty, Hackett was sure of his decision.
“It was a penalty kick and should have been reviewed,” he said.
It’s baffling that anyone can see that Thiago handball happen in real-time or via several replays and decide that it isn’t worthy of a penalty.
Thiago goes to ground and doesn’t put his arm down to break his fall until after the ball has struck his arm.
People trying to compare it to the Tomas Soucek incident earlier in the season are simply lying to themselves that they can’t see the difference between the two incidents.
The fact that an ex-referee is so adamant that a penalty should have been awarded says it all considering how often they stick together.
It’s yet another decision that has gone against West Ham this season and with the relegation battle so tight heading into the final few games of the season, these decisions could prove vital.
Thankfully we’ve moved away from the battle with recent wins, but until we’re mathematically safe we have to just keep pushing for points.