Tottenham news: Expert demand major rule reform as 'nonsensical' VAR controversy analysed - 'wow'
Noel Whelan has called for major reform to the rules surrounding handball after Tottenham were awarded a “really harsh” penalty during the 1-0 win over Burnley on Sunday (15 May).
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed match referee Kevin Friend was put in a “no-win situation” by the current rules.
As seen on the BBC’s Match of the Day 2 programme, Tottenham were awarded a penalty after VAR intervention when Davinson Sanchez’s pass struck the outstretched arm of Ashley Barnes.
Speaking to the BBC post-match, interim Burnley boss Mike Jackson insisted the decision just “doesn’t make sense”.
Harry Kane dispatched the spot-kick to lift Tottenham into fourth place, while Burnley slipped into the bottom three.
Whelan suggested match referee Friend was not to blame for the “harsh” decision.
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“I thought it was really harsh,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
“When I watched it back on the replay, my first reaction was ‘wow’.
“But that’s the rules. The arm was in a strange and unnatural position, but the ball wasn’t going anywhere which was going to hurt Burnley.
“The referee has made the decision which keeps within the letter of the law – and there’s nothing you can do.
“He watched it on the VAR monitor, yes, but we all know what’s going to happen at that point.
“I think sometimes the referees are in a no-win situation because of the rules in place. It’s something which needs looking at.”
Burnley face Aston Villa and Newcastle in the next week as they attempt to preserve their Premier League status.
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s quest to beat Arsenal to a top-four finish is out of their hands.