VAR official Stuart Atwell did not dare overturn Anthony Taylor’s decision to not award Newcastle United a penalty kick against Burnley because the former is considerably less senior.
That is the view of ex-Premier League and FIFA referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about James Tarkowski’s challenge on Sean Longstaff that threatened to overshadow Newcastle’s vital 2-1 win.
With Burnley 1-0 up, the ball broke loose in the box and Tarkowski cleared the ball with a high foot and caught Longstaff’s head in the process.
NO PENALTY! ❌
VAR checks to see whether James Tarkowski should be penalised as he clears the ball with a high foot, but it's not adjudged to be a foul.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 11, 2021
Taylor decided against giving a penalty and VAR official Atwell did not overturn his decision.
“Penalty kick and a red card,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
“It’s straight forward. VAR saying no foul is amazing. The player has endangered the safety of his opponent. That’s the law, he’s endangered the safety of his opponent and if he does that it’s a red card.
“The problem we’ve got, Stuart Atwell who was the VAR for the game is growing in stature and he’s normally pretty accurate. But he’s dealing with Anthony Taylor and Anthony Taylor says no.
“I’m wondering if there’s a relationship like ‘Oh, it’s Anthony Taylor he’s one of the top two referees in England, he’s judged it as he’s seen it. I’m not interfering, I’m not saying that’s a clear and obvious error.’
“Whereas I believe that was a clear and obvious error and VAR should’ve come in.
“I just wonder whether there’s sometimes a relationship problem and a less experienced referee acting as VAR suddenly doesn’t want to come in and only wants to come in when he’s absolutely 100 per cent.
“On this occasion, I think he’s said ‘Taylor’s in a good position so he’s judged it. So it’s not a clear and obvious error.’ He’s judged it to be subjective.”