During Manchester United’s recent Europa League match against Real Betis, former United player Paul Scholes criticized a controversial football law that almost cost his former team the game. Scholes was on punditry duty for BT Sport when he watched his former team beat Real Betis in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
The match saw United take the lead after just six minutes thanks to a goal from Marcus Rashford. However, on-loan Leicester striker Ayoze Perez equalized for Betis just after the half-hour mark. The goal was controversial as Perez’s teammate, Juanmi, appeared to handle the ball in the lead-up to the goal.
Despite calls for VAR to intervene, the goal was allowed to stand as it was deemed accidental since the ball came off Juanmi’s chest before hitting his arm. Additionally, as the handball came during the build-up and not from the actual scorer, the goal was allowed to stand.
Scholes was quick to criticize the decision, calling the rules “ridiculous” and “stupid.” He argued that a handball is a handball, regardless of whether it leads to a goal or not. Scholes also pointed out that upon closer inspection, it appeared that the ball had actually touched Juanmi’s arm first before hitting his chest.
Owen Hargreaves, another pundit on BT Sport, agreed with Scholes, saying that even in a friendly game with friends, players would call a handball if they saw one. The controversy surrounding the goal could have cost United the game, but they managed to secure a healthy advantage in the second half with goals from Antony, Bruno Fernandes, and Wout Weghorst.
The incident highlights the ongoing debate around football laws and VAR. While VAR has been introduced to help referees make more accurate decisions, there are still instances where it fails to intervene or where its decisions are controversial. The rules around handballs have also been a point of contention for many football fans and pundits.
In conclusion, Paul Scholes’ criticism of the controversial football law that almost cost Manchester United highlights the ongoing debate around football laws and VAR. While some argue that VAR has improved decision-making in football, others believe that there are still flaws in the system that need to be addressed. The incident also highlights the need for clearer rules around handballs and other controversial decisions in football.