VAR official Anthony Taylor reportedly believed Nicolas Pepe should have had a penalty against Bournemouth, but he didn’t overturn the referee’s decision.

anthony taylor
Referee Anthony Taylor

Analysing the decision on beIN SPORTS after the game, the studio appeared to be in agreement that Pepe should have been given a spot-kick after being felled in the box. The incident was reviewed by the VAR team, but they stuck with the on-field call.

Richard Keys then claimed the match’s VAR official Anthony Taylor believed it should have been a penalty, but didn’t want to overturn the decision.

“Anthony Taylor in VAR today did think this was (a penalty) yesterday, did not overturn the referee’s decision. We’ve just seen close on an assault in the box that once again he didn’t feel he should overturn the decision of the on-field ref,” Keys said.

It’s worth bearing in mind this is coming from a second-hand source, and Keys is very outspoken about the way VAR is being used, so whether we can completely rely on his word here is up for debate.

Assuming he’s right though, it’s not actually outside the current rules for Taylor to believe it’s a penalty and yet stick with the on-field decision. The call is a subjective one, and if Taylor would have given the penalty himself but doesn’t believe it was clear enough to overturn, they won’t overturn it.

Perhaps it’s in these kinds of cases that we need the referee to consult a video screen though.

If the VAR official is comfortable that the incident is clear enough to make the call themselves, they can make it. If they believe it’s a penalty but not an obvious one, maybe they should let the referee watch it again and decide.

Right now, all we’re getting is an acknowledgement that they maybe should have changed the decision, and that’s it. That doesn’t really help much in the final standings at the end of the season.