Chelsea manager Emma Hayes criticised the standard of refereeing after the Blues drew 2-2 against Real Madrid on Wednesday evening.
The opening Champions League group fixture was shrouded in controversy as two incorrect calls went against the Blues. Jessie Fleming fouled Athenea del Castillo outside of the box but, without VAR, the officials awarded a penalty, which Olga Carmona scored.
Chelsea could have won the game when Niamh Charles scored in stoppage time, but the goal was ruled out. It was originally believed that the assistant referee adjudged Charles offside, despite clearly being 3 or 4 yards on. However, it later transpired that Sam Kerr was penalised for interfering with Real goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez. Neither decision stood up to scrutiny for Hayes who was clearly furious with the officiating in interviews after the match:
“I cannot understand the decision whatsoever. I think we’ve been robbed of what was a 3-1 game. You can’t (ask the referee for clarity at full-time). You’re not allowed to speak to the officials. Can’t speak to them there (on the pitch), can’t speak about it here (to the media).”
“For me, I am going to focus on the performance, I can only control that. Everybody saw the decisions, you don’t need me to comment on them any further.”
VAR needs to be introduced in the Champions League
There has been a lot of debate about the merits of VAR in men’s football recently but you cannot deny that it would have prevented the two errors that officials made on Wednesday night.
Fleming’s foul on del Castillo was clearly outside the penalty box and the decision would have been overturned in an instant. The offside call for Charles’ goal would have been reversed too, as Kerr is making no attempt to play the ball.
It is time that VAR is introduced to avoid these sorts of mistakes happening, especially in one of the biggest competitions in women’s club football.