Peter Walton was derided as ‘an absolute bluffer’ over VAR analysis

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Peter Walton has emerged as a key figure within the world of football punditry and analysis. For BT Sport, he has offered his insight and analysis on refereeing decisions in the Champions League and Premier League in recent years. He is doing the same for ITV at Euro 2020 this summer, where controversial decisions have been made using the technology.

Refereeing decisions are divisive, and this was seen in January when Manchester City was awarded a goal scored by Bernardo Silva.

Walton, an ex-Premier League referee, offered his insight on the goal.

A City player was in an offside position when Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings controlled an aerial ball.

However, City’s Rodri then swiped the ball off Mings before setting up Silva to score, with Walton saying during the game that the goal should not have stood.

After the game, Walton appeared to backtrack slightly as he explained why the goal stood.

He said: “My initial thought is when Mings played the ball, it wasn’t a deliberate play on the ball.

“Therefore, he didn’t play the player onside, however, the law, and I’ll read it for you, says: ‘A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball, is not considered to have gained an advantage’.

“Therefore, Mings playing the ball deliberately – you can see him try and chest the ball – plays the Manchester City player onside even though he’s in an offside position and therefore the goal should stand.

“Just to clarify that, he wasn’t gaining an advantage by being where he was.”

This led to anger from one journalist – Liverpool Echo correspondent Paul Gorst – who labelled Walton an “absolute bluffer.”

A PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Board) statement later confirmed that Mings was deemed to have played the ball.

They added: “As the law deems that Rodri has not gained an advantage, he has not committed an offside offence and play should be allowed to continue. Rodri legitimately took possession from Mings, starting the attack that led to the goal.”

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The controversy from the goal was obvious, with many baffled at how it was allowed to stand.

Later in January, Premier League officials added new guidance to the offside rule in order to disallow goals like Silva’s.

The new guidance said: “Where a player in an offside position immediately impacts on an opponent who has deliberately played the ball, the match officials should prioritise challenging an opponent for the ball, and thus the offside offence of ‘interfering with an opponent by impacting on the opponent’s ability to play the ball’ should be penalised.”

The Premier League confirmed that if Rodri had dispossessed Mings with this guidance in place, Bernardo’s goal would have been disallowed.

Players standing in an offside position are still able to receive possession from an opponent who makes a deliberate attempt to play the ball if that opponent misplaces their pass or mis-kicks.

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