Former Premier League referee Peter Walton says that the decision to award Real Sociedad a penalty against Manchester United last night was incorrect.
The penalty was awarded when Lisandro Martinez blocked a shot while inside the area.
The ball hit the defender’s knee before ricocheting onto his arm.
VAR failed to overturn the referee’s decision and United lost the match 1-0 as a result.
“It was never a penalty,” Walton wrote in The Times.
“The question here is whether it is a deliberate handball. At one time the law was that if the ball was deflected from one part of a player’s body on to their hand it could not be deemed deliberate.
“But the law was amended last year so the referee could judge the handball to be deliberate if that happened. That is what the referee and VAR must have decided happened last night but I totally disagree with them.
“Lisandro Martínez did not deliberately handball it and it was not a penalty.”
Journalist Henry Winter agreed, saying “He was looking away and his arms were not in an unnatural position for a defender making this textbook block.
“After all the talk of how Uefa implemented VAR better than PGMOL officials it was dispiriting and logic-defying to see the Italian referee, Marco Di Bello, point to the spot, and for the VAR, Massimiliano Irrati, to concur.
“Adding insult to iniquity, Martínez was booked and then Brais Méndez calmly placed the spot kick past David de Gea.”
It was to be a crucial decision in a tight game that saw few chances at either end.
United had a Cristiano Ronaldo goal disallowed for offside and Jadon Sancho missed the ball completely from close range, leaving United goalless.
The penalty also represented the first goal Sociedad have ever scored against United in five attempts.