Euro 2020 chief referee defended Danny Makkelie for awarding a penalty to Raheem Sterling in England’s semi-final and Bjorn Kuipers’ decision not to fire Italy’s Jorginho for a challenge against Jack Grealish in final.
Roberto Rosetti supported the calls by showing pictures and slides and explaining why VAR had not corrected either. Sterling’s shot on goal came in overtime, with England drawing a 1-1 draw with Denmark after Makkelie judged Joakim Mæhle to have knocked the striker down. Harry Kane’s penalty was saved but he scored the winner on the rebound.
Rosetti, chairman of the UEFA referees committee, claimed the defender had made no attempt to play the ball and showed a freeze frame of Mæhle’s leg in contact with Sterling’s. The decision was “not a scandal,” he said.
“He [Makkelie] saw the red defender No 5 – he didn’t play the ball, ”Rosetti said. “The right leg of the defender, Danny saw the contact against the right leg of the white [England] player. This is what the referee saw on the pitch and VAR upheld the decision: Red defender 5 did not touch the ball. We can discuss the intensity of the contact of course, but we always want the referee to be at the center of the decision-making process.
Rosetti also played audio of the conversation between Makkelie and VAR officials, with the referee saying the “penalty is correct”.
Jorginho’s challenge on Grealish also came in overtime when the midfielder took the ball but then continued on the English substitute’s leg. Rosetti explained why Kuipers’ yellow card was appropriate, again deploying images.
“He saw Jorginho trying to play the ball – you can see him put his right foot on the ball and it’s 100% clear and then the right foot slides over the ball and there is a second contact on the leg of the 7 white player The referee explained to VAR exactly what he saw on the pitch.
“What is the duty of the VAR?” To verify exactly what the referee saw. So, for example, if the right foot was not on the ball but directly on the leg, the [decision would be overturned]. “
Rosetti said the referee can ask for angles and speeds of an incident he wants when he uses the monitor on the side of the pitch, but at the end of the day the referee always shows it in real time to counter how slow motion might exaggerate what happened.
Rosetti would like VAR to be used in all European national competitions and said tournament statistics underline the success of the system. Out of 276 VAR checks, 28 corrections were made and all, when examined, were found to be correct, he said. Eighteen of these were factual, the majority of offside and 10 were subjective decisions.
At Euro 2020, 1,113 fouls were committed in 51 games, averaging 21.8 per game, down from the last four iterations.