Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher says VAR was correct not to award Sheffield United a penalty against Fulham

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher says VAR was correct to back Martin Atkinson’s decision not to give Sheffield United a penalty in their 1-0 defeat against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 2:12 pm

Jayden Bogle was taken out by Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in the dying minutes of the relegation clash and replays showed the French World Cup winner had smashed into the former Derby County full-back’s leg after coming out to block the defender’s shot.

Now Gallagher has leapt to the defence of the match officials and said they got the controversial decision correct.

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"This was the most-talked incident of the weekend,” said Gallagher, speaking on Sky Sports’ Football Show on Monday.

“When I saw it, I thought the goalkeeper got the ball first - he then catches Bogle.

"He does get a lot of the ball and I think that's why it's difficult to give the penalty. He's trying to block the ball as a goalkeeper, not trying to win it.

"The on-field decision was no penalty; you look at that as a VAR, you see he gets so much of the ball, I don't think he can reverse that.”

Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola takes out Sheffield United's Jayden Bogle. Photo: David Klein/Sportimage.

The decision left Blades boss Chris Wilder fuming and he described the Fulham stopper’s actions as ‘reckless’, while Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness labelled the challenge by Areola as ‘an assault’ and said referees ‘make it up as they go along’.

But when asked about John Lundstram's dismissal for United at Brighton in December for a tackle in which he initially got the ball, Gallagher said ‘you have to take each case on its own merit’.

"Lundstram was tackling for the ball and had come a long way,” said Gallagher, who spent 15 years as a top-flight official.

"Areola doesn't make a tackle - he makes a block. I think there's so much of the ball, if they gave a penalty, we'd be having the opposite argument.”

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