Sheffield United: REVEALED - Why no penalty was given to Blades after Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse's blatant handball... and why red card for Billy Sharp was 'correct' according to ref expert

Sheffield United fans were left fuming at VAR after THREE key decisions went against them during their 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Bramall Lane yesterday.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 15:16 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th September 2019, 15:16 pm
VAR decision on the screen during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 14th September 2019. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

First, Oli McBurnie’s ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside after VAR adjudged John Egan was offside in the build-up.

United were then denied a blatant penalty after James Ward-Prowse handled the ball in the Saints’ penalty area from a corner.

And United’s misery was compounded when skipper Billy Sharp was sent off late on, for a rash challenge on Stuart Armstrong.

Blades boss Chris Wilder had no complaints over the disallowed goal, or the red card, but felt his side should have had a spot-kick.

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But Chris Foy, the former top-flight referee now Head of Public Engagement at PGMOL, believes the decision not to give a penalty was correct.

“It’s not a penalty against James Ward-Prowse because while the ball did hit his arm the contact was not deliberate,” Foy wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

“The midfielder was too close to another player and not looking at the ball so it couldn’t have been a penalty.

“Billy Sharp’s challenge on Stuart Armstrong endangered an opponent and warranted a red card. It was checked by VAR — as all red cards are — and it was clear that referee Lee Mason had not made an error.”

According to the rules of the game, a player will be penalised if they make their body “unnaturally bigger”. IFAB, the game’s lawmakers, say that having the hand/arm above shoulder height is rarely a "natural" position and a player is "taking a risk" by having the hand/arm in that position, including when sliding.