West Ham forward Michail Antonio says the video assistant referee (VAR) system needs to be “binned”.
The Hammers were controversially denied a 90th-minute equaliser at Chelsea on Saturday after VAR intervened.
Referees’ body PGMOL effectively accepted that decision – and a second VAR call at Newcastle United v Crystal Palace – was wrong.
“It was a madness, that’s what I am going to call it. An actual madness,” said Antonio.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Footballer’s Football Podcast on BBC Sounds, he added: “I have said this many times. It needs to be binned.”
The PGMOL has stated that it will fully cooperate with a Premier League investigation into the events of last weekend.
After being adopted in 2019, the system is now in its fourth complete Premier League season. The Premier League said that without it, the percentage of right “important match decisions” increased from 82% to 94% in that first season.
The VAR’s role is to alert the on-field referee to “clear and evident errors” or “major missed situations.”
It is only used for goals, penalty decisions, straight red cards, or mistaken identity – and intervention has a “high bar” to “keep the tempo and intensity of matches.”
Maxwell Cornet thought he levelled at 2-2 for West Ham at Stamford Bridge but, after being told to look at the monitor by VAR, referee Andrew Madley decided there was a foul on keeper Edouard Mendy by Jarrod Bowen and reversed his decision to award a goal.
West Ham manager David Moyes called the decision to disallow his side’s goal as “scandalous”.
“As a player we all knew it [the incident] was nothing,” said Antonio.
“It is all about opinions – about the referee’s opinion, about the fourth official’s opinion and about the opinion of whoever is watching,” added Antonio.
“If the referee makes a decision, then there is another person who goes ‘that might not be the right decision’. He goes to the referee ‘you might have to have another look at that’.
“He is putting doubt in the referee’s mind when he is already sure about the decision he has made.
“He goes over and watches [on the monitor] but because someone has already said to him you might have got that wrong – it has clouded his mind already.
“The person who is meant to make a decision, who is quite sure of his decision, believes his decision is right, has now got that doubt and feels he needs to change – or if he doesn’t change [wonders] if he is going to get into trouble because another referee has told him to change.
“It is taking the passion away from football because you don’t know if you have scored or not – it is pointless.
“You are spending all this money on VAR for things to still go wrong.”