FA Cup matches using the video assistant referee have relied on dramatically fewer camera angles than those available in the Premier League at the same venues.
Terrestrial broadcasters have deployed fewer cameras to each game than Sky, which generally offers 30 angles at the Var Hub at Stockley Park for top-flight fixtures. Over the past weekend, Telegraph Sport is aware of at least one Cup tie where fewer than ten corners were available for Var at a Premier League ground.
The BBC, which privately confirmed that camera angles varied by venue, shares rights to the competition with ITV Sport. The broadcasters dismissed suggestions that the less-than-normal camera angles affected decision-making within matches.
ITV had 17 camera angles available, which sources said “comfortably meets the standard required for FA Cup games” – at Anfield for the biggest Var controversy of the weekend. However, when Wolves defender Toti Gomes had a late winner ruled out, Var was unable to provide any footage to prove whether Matheus Nunes was offside or not. Var couldn’t place the lines because calibrated cameras weren’t available at the time, meaning they couldn’t prove conclusively whether it was offside or not. As a result, match Var Mike Dean went with the decision on the field.
The game ended 2-2, meaning a replay will be played at Molineux. However, Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui claims he and his staff have evidence Toti’s unauthorized winner should have been present. A tactical camera not accessible to Var is said to suggest that Nunes, who had taken a corner just before, was standing by, he said.
“The offside we had, we saw it, the offside doesn’t exist, I’m sorry,” said Lopetegui after the match. “It’s impossible. Someone told him [the referee] it’s offside, but we’ve seen the images, it doesn’t exist. The decision is wrong. I make mistakes every day, and sometimes they do too. It’s a shame, because I’m sorry, it’s not offside.”