Premier League Star Escapes Red Card After Punching Opponent in the Stomach, VAR Questioned

Premier League Star Escapes Red Card After Punching Opponent in the Stomach, VAR Questioned

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
April 8, 2024 at 12:31 PM
In this article:
James Maddison logo
Tottenham Hotspur logoMEngland logo
Ryan Yates logo
R. Yates
Nottingham Forest logoMEngland logo
Tottenham Hotspur logo
Tottenham Hotspur
Nottingham Forest logo
Nottingham Forest
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ENG Premier League
  • James Maddison managed to escape a red card against Nottingham Forest
  • The Tottenham playmaker appeared to have punched his opponent's stomach
  • The incident drew the ire of Forest coach, Nuno, after Maddison didn't see red

The implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was intended to catch the finer details that referees might overlook.

However, week after week, this technology finds itself in the spotlight for its apparent failure to intervene in critical moments of matches, leading to mixed reactions among fans.

VAR, Tottenham, Nottingham, red card, stomach, punch, Premier League.
Referee Simon Hooper speaks with James Maddison and Ryan Yates during Tottenham's EPL tie with Nottingham. Photo by Alex Davidson.
Source: Getty Images

In essence, VAR is falling short of its intended purpose of improving the integrity of the game.

This was evident in a controversial incident that unfolded during Tottenham Hotspur's recent home game against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, April 7, as noted by talkSPORT.

What happened?

In the 44th minute, there was an off-the-ball altercation between Spurs playmaker Maddison and Ryan Yates, resulting in the Forest captain falling to the ground.

Yates appealed to referee Simon Hooper to review the incident.

Upon review, replays revealed that Maddison did make contact with the Forest midfielder's stomach. However, with the match tied 1-1 at the time, VAR opted not to intervene.

How Forest coach reacted to VAR's 'failure'?

Forest manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, lamented a contentious call that favoured Tottenham during their 3-1 defeat away, as Maddison was permitted to remain on the pitch.

"It doesn't look like he punched him. He punched him," said Nuno as quoted by Football London.

Nuno, who made a return to Spurs for the first time since the club sacked him after only 17 games in charge back in 2021, also added:

"I saw the image, and that is why I speak to you. I was surprised that VAR didn't tell Simon to review it better because, honestly, with all my respects, Maddison loses his composure, and it is a punch in the stomach of Yates.
"It should have been reviewed and a different decision made. It is not a shirt (pull) with players that looks like nothing happens, no. No, it's without the ball.

FIFA to implement revolutionary change to VAR

Sports Brief reported that FIFA is poised to endorse a revolutionary alteration in the implementation of the VAR system in prominent European leagues.

The handling of football incidents by VAR officials has sparked considerable debate, often prompting apologies from refereeing bodies like England's PGMOL.

However, in a notable policy change, FIFA is rumoured to have sanctioned the public disclosure of the VAR decision-making process, allowing spectators in the stadium and television viewers to gain insights into the rationale behind VAR interventions.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.