Everton have received an apology from the Premier League’s head of referees, Mike Riley, after the failure to award an injury time penalty against Manchester City on Saturday.
Everton were trailing the league leaders 1-0 when Rodrigo handled the ball inside the area. Match referee Paul Tierney was unsighted and the VAR, Chris Kavanagh, decided there was insufficient evidence to show the ball had hit the City midfielder on the arm.
The decision robbed Everton of the chance to equalise from the spot and claim a vital point in their battle against relegation.
Riley, the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which oversees all refereeing in England, personally called Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and manager Frank Lampard to apologise and admit a mistake had been made by the VAR.
Lampard, who replaced Rafa Benitez as Everton manager in January, was furious after the game with the defeat leaving his new club just one point above the drop zone.
“There is no doubt, there is no probably to it,” Lampard said after the game. “The decision is incredible, incredible, and that loses us the opportunity to get what we deserved.
“That’s a VAR call. That’s Chris Kavanagh, I spoke to the referee and they know it is a penalty, the question is that is it offside and it wasn’t.
“That’s the reason we have VAR. It wouldn’t have needed more than five seconds to know it was a penalty. He [Kavanagh] should have either told the referee to give it or told him to go look at it.
“We’ve lost a point because of a professional who cannot do his job right. You start searching for whys and I can’t think why. It is so incompetent to get it wrong.
“Pep [Guardiola] will know, Everton fans will know, Man City fans will know, it was the clearest penalty you could give: arm is out — great, below the sleeve — great, I was waiting for the penalty.
“Incompetence at best, at worst who knows? I’ll wait for the statement or apology they do when things are wrong but it will mean nothing.”
This decision did not only affect online betting, but there is a chance that it will have a great impact on the eventual placement that would determine the winner of the Premier League.