West Ham’s David Moyes and Declan Rice escape FA charge for furious VAR criticism

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avid Moyes and Declan Rice have escaped being charged by the FA for their comments following West Ham’s disallowed equaliser at Chelsea on Saturday — but the Hammers boss could still face action for allegedly confronting the referee.

Refereeing chiefs have admitted they made a mistake, after West Ham were denied a deserved point at Stamford Bridge when referee Andrew Madley was summoned by the VAR to review Maxwel Cornet’s would-be leveller, with the effort chalked off for a supposed foul by Jarrod Bowen on goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) has accepted that decision, and the call to disallow a Newcastle winner against Crystal Palace, were mistakes, after being asked to investigate by the Premier League.

The FA has reviewed post-match comments from a furious Moyes and Rice but decided neither meets the threshold for a disciplinary charge.

Moyes, however, allegedly entered the referee’s office after the game, and the FA was this morning awaiting Madley’s report before deciding whether or not to take action against the Scot.

Moyes branded the decision “scandalous” and “absolutely rotten”, and claimed he had “lost faith” in the system, after VAR Jarred Gillett encouraged Madley to consult the pitch-side monitor after the on-field referee had seen no issue with the goal in real time.

“I make loads of mistakes, referees can make loads of mistakes,” Moyes said. “But I would hope if the referee made a mistake, that’s why it’s corrected by VAR. If you’re saying today that the referee’s mistake was corrected by VAR, I’m saying I do not see that in a million years.

“I’m actually more embarrassed for the guy who did the VAR than I am even for the referee, because that’s telling me it’s someone who doesn’t understand football and probably shouldn’t be near it, if they think that was enough to send the referee to the screen.”

Rice, the West Ham captain, also criticised the decision. “That’s up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since it’s come into the game,” he said. “Shambles. Can’t believe the referee has even been asked to go take a look at the monitor! Cannot see how they’ve come to that decision.”

The decision was one of two hugely controversial calls in Saturday’s top-flight matches, with Newcastle also denied a goal in their 0-0 draw with Palace.

The Premier League subsequently took the unusual step of asking PGMOL for an additional investigation into the incidents, which are usually reviewed by a designated panel as a matter of course, and it is understood that the body has effectively accepted its officials’ errors.

“PGMOL acknowledges the incidents to disallow the goals in the Chelsea v West Ham and Newcastle v Crystal Palace fixtures,” it said in a statement. “We will fully co-operate and collaborate with the Premier League and their request to review these two incidents, using the outcome as part of the ongoing assessment of weekly performances and the development of our match officials going forward.”

It has been a controversial week for VAR, with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta describing the decision to chalk off his side’s opener at Manchester United yesterday as “soft” and Tottenham boss Antonio Conte calling for the technology to be scrapped after a disallowed Spurs goal at West Ham on Wednesday.

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