Parker: Shocking VAR fiasco will ruin football if players are forced to defend like penguins

Parker: Shocking VAR fiasco will ruin football if players are forced to defend like penguins

07/03/2019 at 12:52Updated 07/03/2019 at 13:40

Old Trafford favourite Paul Parker believes the VAR decision given against Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe was disgraceful – and predicts trouble ahead unless urgent action is taken.

I was shocked when the Slovenian referee Damir Skomina went back to review the decision on VAR after Presnel Kimpembe had blocked Diogo Dalot’s shot in the dying seconds in Paris. That was never, never a penalty.

This is going to be a massive issue in the future unless it is corrected. It threatens to ruin the sport if a call like that can cost a club a place in the last eight of the Champions League.

VAR is supposed to be used only when there is "a clear and obvious error" by the referee. That wasn’t clear and obvious.

It is not a penalty. That is not an unnatural position for a player to jump when blocking. I’m pleased United got the call as a former player, but you felt really sorry for Kimpembe because what is he supposed to do?

He’s jumped, and turned his back. Some said he should have been braver, but there aren’t many people who are going to stand there and take a ball flush in the n**s.

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When you turn, you aren’t looking at the ball. Which is a gamble because someone could dribble past you.

But then for the ball to hit your hands, it is not deliberate. His hands weren’t out parallel with his shoulders, they weren’t out below his shoulders. He wasn't looking at the ball.

They are in a position that indicates he needs that for balance when he’s landed. The whole thing is totally wrong.

Presnel Kimpembe (C) makes a hand fault leading the referee to show after videoassist the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match.

Presnel Kimpembe (C) makes a hand fault leading the referee to show after videoassist the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match.Eurosport


They need to identify the problems with this decision otherwise there are going to be a lot of out-of-work defenders sooner or later because managers are going to have to sack them the moment they raise their arms when they jump or block something.

It is getting a bit silly now. If these moments are not going to be called correctly by VAR, they need someone who has played the game to have an honest opinion.

When people jump and the ball is too close, it is natural for it to hit a hand. Even when someone rubs the player’s head with their arm when they jump, players are going down clutching their heads like they have been struck by a brick.

It is getting silly, the game is getting too soft and referees on the pitch are not allowed to make their own decisions any more.

The people making these calls haven’t got a clue about playing a game of football. We need former players helping referees when they go to examine VAR at crucial times.


I’m sure the referee didn't call that because none of the players were complaining to him. They all knew it wasn't a penalty.

It’s been called back by a numptie who has probably never played the game of football in his life. It was the wrong call.

United would have been furious if they had went out in that fashion. If, say, Rio Ferdinand had been on the end of that call, it would have been ended with Rio getting sent off such is the outrage you would feel.

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As a defender, you know if you’ve done your job or not. If you are a full-back and you are closing down an opponent, you are running out and you use your arms to balance yourself.

Your arms come away from your side naturally. That is not a penalty, but now we are saying that is a penalty because your arms are supposed to be in an unnatural position away from your side.


Let's ask manufacturers to put a set of pockets in football shorts so defenders can keep their hands in there when they are closing down attackers.

You are going to see a minimum of eight players on a pitch looking like penguins. That is the only way to avoid giving away a penalty.

It is shocking what is happening. You have to ask if any of these referees have played the game at any level? Have they been around football people?

You can see the referee is breaking down internally having to abide by silly rules. He’s got to come out and say the truth. He personally did not think that was a handball.

He is just going by the book. We want people speaking with passion, and heart. Even if it is written on the can, you have to come out and say there is something wrong with it. A handball is not always deliberate, that is obvious.

Edinson Cavani (R) Paris Saint-Germain's Belgian defender Thomas Meunier (D) try to cheer up Paris Saint-Germain's French defender Presnel Kimpembe.

Edinson Cavani (R) Paris Saint-Germain's Belgian defender Thomas Meunier (D) try to cheer up Paris Saint-Germain's French defender Presnel Kimpembe.Eurosport

Not one of the players has appealed for a handball. If they don’t think it is a handball, they’ve played the game.

The people who think it is a penalty are people who haven’t played football. If there is a professional who tells me that is a penalty, I’d be shocked.

To tell me hand on heart, if that was given against his team for a place in the Champions League quarter-final that it was a penalty, he’d be a disgrace to his profession. He’d be a liar.


It is all good news for Manchester United. The club has had a massive transformation since Jose Mourinho was dismissed in December. Mourinho was all out for himself: one person had practically knocked out the foundations at Old Trafford, and it was going to fall down.

They managed to stop it just in time. If Mourinho had come in as a spy from another team to destroy a football club, they caught him just before he completed the job. That’s the long and short of it.

If Manchester United had been playing that game in Paris under Mourinho, it would have been 0-0 at the best; they would have been hoping for a decision like that to go through.

If he had won that game, he would have been going around with one hand behind his ear with three fingers in the air to let everyone know he won a treble with Inter Milan a decade ago.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates with his players, and gets off the pitch because he knows the players have done the job. But he also knows that things can flip very quickly in management.

At United, the next game is always bigger and Ole knows that.


When you are a player, you go out there and try your best. You think that if I do well, the manager might not change a winning team.

The last thing you need is a manager moaning about who is out injured. You don’t want to hear that, but that is what the players have had to deal with for over two years: players at the club being told they are not good enough under Mourinho.

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Now those players have got belief that they might stand a chance of getting a run in the side. That is basic management to get the best out of other people by making them believe. Ole knows what it takes to play for United, and what he wanted to hear as a player to stay positive.

That other idiot never did that. Selfish, poor and someone who really doesn’t know about managing.

You learn more about managing through experience. Ole has learned in Norway and had a disastrous time at Cardiff, but he has used those experiences to improve himself. It proves you don’t always learn by winning. You learn more by losing.


Man management is an incredible skill set, and you can never learn enough. Ole has got that job now permanently. There is no way now they can change it.

If you were going in there after Sir Alex Ferguson left winning the Premier League in 2013, it was a massive fight. But Ole Gunnar is the right man at the right time to come in there.

It feels like it is getting back very much to like it was when I was playing under Sir Alex. Manchester United is the biggest community club in the world.

It is a community club, that’s where it achieved its greatness from. From the Munich Air Disaster through to Sir Alex rebuilding the club, there has always been a history and a community that defines United.

Eric Cantona, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Eric Cantona, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.Eurosport

That is the difference, and that is the bit that needs to be kept. There is a great chance to get over the bad times they have endured recently.

People are different when you visit Old Trafford these days. The mood of the club has lifted.

People working there feel like they are now leaving home to go home.

Paul Parker @realpaulparker2