Var for Newcastle handball penalty stood down

Marciniak checks the Var monitor - Tomasz Kwiatkowski, Var for Newcastle handball penalty is stood down
Tomasz Kwiatkowski was the official who suggested that Szymon Marciniak, pictured, should review the Tino Livramento handball - AFP/ALAIN JOCARD

The Var at the centre of the PSG-Newcastle penalty controversy has been removed from Champions League duty after authorities concluded both he and the referee were at fault.

In a clear sign Uefa believes the officials got it wrong before Kylian Mbappe levelled from the spot, a new official will take over Tomasz Kwiatkowski’s duties for Real Sociedad v RB Salzburg.

Referee Szymon Marciniak will face no action, however, as he was already due to be absent from the next round of matches because of the Club World Cup.

Uefa confirmed the Var replacement without giving any reason but the handball decision was contrary to its own advice to match officials at the start of the season.

The 96th-minute penalty decision prompted screams of dismay from Newcastle and TNT Sports pundits alike. Marciniak had turned down one early penalty appeal, and he initially looked minded to wave away another when Tino Livramento closed down Ousmane Dembélé, with the ball initially ricocheting on to the defender’s chest before glancing his elbow.

However, after speaking to Var officials, Marciniak ran to the pitchside monitor and, after reviewing footage for no more than seven seconds, he gestured to the penalty spot.

The law states that a handball should be given if a player “deliberately touches the ball with their hand or arm ... for example, moving their hand or arm towards the ball” and mentions making the body “unnaturally bigger”.

In April, the Uefa Football Board held its inaugural meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, and recommended that “Uefa should clarify that no handball offence should be called on a player if the ball is previously deflected from his own body and, in particular, when the ball does not go towards the goal”.

Sources with understanding of Uefa’s position maintained the referee and Var had made a mistake rather than following the wrong guidance. Those with knowledge of refereeing in the Premier League said there was “no chance” the penalty would have been given in England’s top tier.

Kwiatkowski, a Var specialist from Poland, is rated one of the best in the world but will be replaced by a German match official for the next fixture.

Uefa has a policy of not discussing incidents on the field of play.

The draw kept PSG two points clear of Newcastle in Group F. Newcastle must now win their home game against AC Milan on December 13 and hope PSG fail to win at Dortmund.

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