The VAR who recommended the controversial penalty that denied Newcastle victory over Paris St-Germain in the Champions League has been stood down from his next match.
Tomasz Kwiatkowski has been told by Uefa that he will not take charge of video refereeing duties at Wednesday’s Champions League Group D fixture between Real Sociedad and Red Bull Salzburg. The decision indicates the Polish official has been punished for the decision that led to Kylian Mbappé’s equaliser in the eighth minute of added time at the Parc des Princes.
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Kwiatowski is a highly experienced referee who performed VAR duties at last year’s World Cup final, part of the same officiating team that took charge of Tuesday night’s match. He has a close working relationship with the referee Szymon Marciniak.
Newcastle had been on the verge of an important away win when the ball struck the arm of Tino Livramento. The ball hit Livramento’s arm after bouncing off his chest and the incident was initially waved away by Marciniak. The referee stopped play shortly afterwards and, after communication with Kwiatowski, went to the VAR monitor before awarding a spot-kick.
Newcastle’s manager, Eddie Howe, said: “It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion. There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first.
“It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down looks completely different to the live event. The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, it is down by his side but he is in a running motion. I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us.”
There were more strident comments from pundits, including the Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who called the decision “disgusting”. The interpretation put on events was that Kwiatowski had insisted on a more lenient interpretation of the handball law.
VARs should seek to intervene in a referee’s decision-making only if they feel a “clear and obvious” error has been made and many watching the match did not feel that applied. It appears that Uefa is of the same mind.