By Keith Hackett

16th Aug, 2021 | 4:00pm

Hackett 'shocked' by 'major' Burnley-Brighton controversy

VAR got it badly wrong – Burnley’s opening goal against Brighton on Saturday should not have been allowed to stand.

So says ex-Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Brighton eventually won 2-1 at Turf Moor.

Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski opened the scoring in just the 2nd minute with a close-range header from an in-swinging corner.

But Brighton’s Neal Maupay protested that he had been shoved to the floor by Tarkowski immediately before the goal.

As per Sky Sports on 3 August, head of the PGMOL Mike Riley stated that officials will facilitate a more “free-flowing” game in 2021-22.

But Hackett asserts that the video assistant referee Jarred Gillett was well wide of the mark on Saturday.

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“Tarkowski pushed Maupay fairly strongly out the way,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

“I was rather shocked that referee David Coote allowed this to stand. It was the only major incident this weekend.

“Even with this new understanding of a ‘lighter touch’, we still need to apply the laws of the game.

“So while the media were happy and put it under the banner of the lighter touch, from my point of view, this was a clear foul.

“We’ve seen the phrase ‘lighter touch’ used in the Euros, and that was a really positive outcome.

When we come to the business end of the competition, it may change. A goal is a big decision, and you have to be 100 per cent sure that it is okay.”

“Some said Maupay might have been blocking. But for me, Tarkowski has pushed a player out of the way, bundled him onto his backside.

“It took a bit of force to do that. VAR should have come in and had another look.”

In other news, pundit claims Celtic working “very hard” to get striker out the door amid Brighton interest.