By Keith Hackett

14th Nov, 2022 | 6:20pm

Ex-Fifa official slams 'lazy' referee as controversial Lucas Digne footage emerges from Aston Villa

Brighton & Hove Albion should have had a penalty in their 2-1 loss to Aston Villa, according to Keith Hackett.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee insisted Lucas Digne fouled Solly March towards the end of the game.

Digne tried to clear the ball just inside the penalty area but it ran away from him and he appeared to kick March.

Referee Chris Kavanagh was well placed but waved away Brighton’s appeals and VAR did not feel he had made a clear and obvious error.

“Brighton should have had a penalty, I’m quite clear,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with

“I think that was an easy decision, I don’t really know why it wasn’t given.

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“If you see what he’s done, he knows what he’s doing. He’s clearing the ball, missed the ball and hit the man.

“I’ve had comments about Chris Kavanagh. I just think he lacks the level of movement required in a Premier League referee.

“For me, it was a clear penalty kick because it comes under the banner of a careless challenge. Was he going for the ball? Well does it matter, he’s got the man first? He’s taken the man out and it is a penalty kick.

“On VAR, Jarred Gillett is a very experienced former international referee so I was rather surprised.

“Sometimes, are these decisions rushed? Do they want to say to their colleague ‘You should have a look at it’.

“This is symptomatic of a problem we’ve talked about in the past, lazy refereeing.

“Therefore, we’ve got a referee saying ‘I’ll not give it because I’m not sure and I’m not in a good position but the lifeboat will come along and throw the ring so I’ll be saved’.

“The reality is the lifeboat didn’t come. VAR probably thought ‘He’s that close to it, he must have seen something different’.

“The replays are clear. On second view of the replay, shows that it was a foul.”

In other news, Aston Villa may be ready to rip up Philippe Coutinho’s contract after a major reveal.