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France’s penalty shows how flawed VAR is at the moment

Ivan Perisic was penalised for handball but it was near-impossible to tell whether a penalty should have been given

Who said the introduction of VAR would take all the talking points out of football?

Ivan Perisic was penalised for a handball in the box allowing Antoine Griezmann to put France 2-1 ahead against Croatia in the World Cup final.

However that only tells half the story.

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Decision time

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Decision time

It all came from a France corner.

Antoine Griezmann whipped a corner towards Blaise Matuidi who ducked, leading to the ball hitting Perisic’s hand.

Referee Nesto Pitana initially didn’t give a penalty, only to overturn his decision after consulting VAR.

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We’ve watched the clip 100 times and we still can’t tell whether it was a penalty or not.

A handball should only be awarded in the case of ‘the movement of the hand towards the ball’, although the ‘distance between opponent and ball’ should be considered, according to official FIFA rules.

Perisic was standing within touching distance of Matuidi and his hand was already on the way down. It would take a brave (French)man to argue that it was deliberate.

Recreating the Emile Heskey celebration

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VAR is meant to overturn ‘clear and obvious’ errors. If it takes two minutes to make a decision then it’s probably not clear or obvious.

The integration of VAR will be a good thing for football in the long run.

But as it stands it’s deeply flawed.