May 25, 2024

Wolves and VAR continue to have a rocky relationship in the Premier League, with officials frequently making costly errors.

The system introduced into England’s top flight for the 2019/20 season has never pleased Wolves. It has been scoring goals for the Old Gold since its inception, much to the chagrin of Molineux fans.

However, since the turn of the year 2023, Wolves have been the victims of some appalling decisions made by officials.

VAR is frequently at the center of the drama, with Stockley Park officials repeatedly reaching incorrect conclusions despite many replays of the incident.

In this piece, we look at every questionable judgment that has gone against Wolves in the Premier League this season.


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VAR failed to give Wolves a penalty in Manchester United (1) vs (0) Wolves, August 2023

On the first day of the season, VAR had an impact on the Wolves. It was Gary O’Neil’s debut game as manager of the club, having been appointed just days before the season began.

While fans were quite negative about the match, Wolves played exceptionally well and had numerous opportunities to lead. However, hopes for a result were crushed when Raphael Varane put United ahead.

Nonetheless, Wolves remained in the game and appeared to be heading for a penalty in the dying minutes. Goalkeeper Andre Onana clattered with Sasa Kalajdzic without receiving the ball, prompting a VAR review.

After a lengthy delay, VAR confirmed that the on-field decision to not award a penalty was correct, causing widespread indignation among Wolves.

In the aftermath of the result, Howard Webb was compelled to apologise to the club, and the officials were forced to miss the next weekend’s games due to the blunder.

VAR fails to overturn penalty in Luton (1) vs (1) Wolves, September 2023

Wolves traveled to struggling Luton near the start of the Premier League season, hoping to finally find a run of form.

At the time, O’Neil’s tenure as manager was not going well, with only one league victory to his credit.

In September, they met pointless Luton, hoping to get their season back on track. Despite Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s early red card, Wolves went ahead thanks to a fantastic Pedro Neto strike.

However, controversy rocked Wolves once again as the referee awarded the hosts a penalty for a Joao Gomes handball. The replays indicated that the ball originally touched the midfielder’s knee before diverting onto his arm, but VAR chose to stick with the verdict.

This sparked outrage, with former referee Mike Dean ‘astounded’ that VAR did not overturn the penalty.

VAR fails to overturn penalty in Wolves (2) vs (2) Newcastle, October 2023

After Mario Lemina’s header cancelled out Callum Wilson’s strike, the hosts appeared to be level at half-time with the Champions League team.

However, after Hwang Hee-Chan delayed his clearance from a corner, he was found to have brought down Fabian Schar, prompting a VAR review. After watching the footage, it was evident that the South Korean international made little to no contact with the defender, with his foot instead striking the ground.

However, referees chose not to reverse the judgment, allowing Callum Wilson to convert from the spot immediately before halftime.

Wolves never got an official apology from the PGMOL for the decision, but the referee was assigned to the Championship the following weekend.

VAR fails to overturn penalty in Sheffield United (2) vs (1) Wolves, November 2023

While many people believed that officials would learn from their missteps, the very next week, VAR committed nearly identical errors.

Wolves drew 1-1 due to Bellegarde’s equaliser, and it appeared like they would settle for a point against the struggling side.

However, Sheffield United were given the opportunity to win their first league game of the season.

In a near-copy of the Newcastle incident, the referee ruled that Fabio Silva fouled a guy inside the area despite the fact that the full-back was already on his way to the ground.

VAR failed to overturn the penalty, allowing Sheffield United to win deep into stoppage time.

VAR fails to overturn penalty in Fulham (3) vs (2) Wolves, November 2023

In a game packed with questionable VAR decisions, Fulham’s first penalty was the first to spark controversy.

With the game tied 1-1, the referee offered the hosts an opportunity to reclaim the lead when Nelson Semedo was ruled to have hauled down Tom Cairney despite minor contact.

However, VAR evaluated the situation again and determined that it was not a ‘clear and evident error’ by the on-field referee.

What makes matters worse is that VAR would then award Fulham another penalty in extended time. This was declared ‘clear and apparent’ despite the fact that there was minimal contact and the on-field referee did not give it.

Following the game, an independent panel concluded that the original penalty should not have remained. However, because of the ‘clear and evident rule’, VAR should not have reversed it.

VAR fails to show Carlos Vinicius in Fulham (3) vs (2) Wolves, November 2023

Another exceedingly contentious decision at Craven Cottage. With the score tied at 2-2 late on, both teams were looking for a winner.

However, Wolves appeared to have an advantage late in the game when VAR detected a collision between Carlos Vinicius and Max Kilman.

The footage appeared to show the Brazilian headbutting the Wolves captain, but VAR did not advise the referee to send him out.

O’Neil was upset with the judgment, as Fulham went on to win the match 3-2. After consulting with the authorities following the match, the manager stated that he was not sent off because the headbutt was ‘too gentle’.

VAR wrongly disallowed Max Kilman’s goal in Wolves (1) vs (2) West Ham, April 2024

After appearing to avoid many of Wolves’ Premier League games in recent weeks, VAR reared its ugly head at Molineux.

Wolves fell behind 2-1 in extra time in a crucial match to determine who would qualify for European football at the conclusion of the season.

Kilman, however, stepped up to save the day with a header into the bottom corner.

However, VAR once more found a way to intervene. Officials at Stockley Park concluded that teenager Tawanda Chirewa was impeding Lukasz Fabianski’s eyesight in an offside position. This was despite the fact that the header was unstoppable and the goalkeeper was able to keep the young midfielder out.

The on-field referee was then summoned to the monitor to observe this’subjective offside’ and ruled the goal invalid.

O’Neil was furious at the ‘baffling decision’, which effectively eliminated Wolves from the European race. Following the game, it was revealed that both David Moyes and Fabianski thought the goal should have stood.


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