By George Overhill

5th Sep, 2022 | 5:10pm

Sky Sports pundits stunned by Dermot Gallagher review as Leeds United denied penalty at Brentford

There were “gobsmacked” reactions that Leeds United were denied a “blatant” penalty against Brentford, and then again when the decision was explained by Dermot Gallagher.

After a VAR review had awarded the Bees a soft penalty for a foul on Ivan Toney by Luis Sinisterra in the 5-2 defeat on Saturday (3 September), substitute Crysencio Summerville was later brought down by Aaron Hickey on his way into the box and given nothing, with the video assistant staying out of it.

Jesse Marsch was sent off by Rob Jones for his furious reaction at the time, and former Premier League referee Gallagher’s subsequent explanation that the challenge didn’t meet the threshold for overturning was met with outrage in the Sky studio by former players Stephan Warnock and Sue Smith.

Speaking on Sky Sports Ref Watch on Monday (5 September) Gallagher said: “I think what happened here, first of all the shirt-pull the referee doesn’t see, the VAR can’t act. As he goes into the box he lets go of the shirt and I think we come back to what the threshold is.

“I think they’ve just said, ‘first one, yes,’ but he can’t give it because he’s outside. ‘Second one, maybe, but we can’t give a maybe,’ didn’t hit the threshold so they played on.”

A stunned Rob Wotton turned to Warnock who was unequivocal, saying to Gallagher: “How many times have you said to me that when the attacker gets in front of the defender he’s in trouble?

“I think it’s a blatant penalty. I think the defender knows it… This for me is one of the worst decisions of the weekend. I looked at this and thought, ‘how’s that not given?’

“It doesn’t matter about the threshold, that’s a foul. That is a blatant penalty. I was gobsmacked that wasn’t given.”

Smith agreed, saying: “That’s the frustrating thing for Leeds fans and Jesse Marsch that they’ve had one given against them, and then they’ve had one here that’s a blatant penalty. Yes the shirt-pull’s outside the area but then the connection and the arm on the shoulder, definite penalty, has to be checked.”


So often with VAR it is not the system but the officials using it that are the problem, but after a weekend worse than any other across the league it is becoming clear that the way things are set up also don’t work and then the individuals are making it worse.

Technology in itself gives an opportunity to review mistakes, but the amount of regulations on when and how it can be used mean it is frequently obsolete and can’t intervene, and when it is possible the officials then so often make wildly inconsistent calls.

Two disclaimers that are relevant are that the Whites’ defence was appalling on Saturday (3 September) and that no matter what happens with VAR there will be some people complaining about it.

Despite that, in this case there is no reasonable explanation for the video assistant to get involved and decide the Brentford penalty should be given, but the Summerville foul doesn’t even deserve a second look.

There is also no grounds for Jones to give the weakest of free kicks to the home side seconds after the Leeds United winger had gone down in the box yet completely ignore that claim.

Marsch played his part in the poor display from his side in west London with some baffling substitutions, but his outrage is justified if the referee is going to arbitrarily change how he views things.

The rules may specify that the assistant couldn’t review the Leeds shout because the referee had seen it, but that means the rules aren’t fit for purpose because he could easily decide he had made a mistake on second viewing.

The rules don’t specify anything about why Jones didn’t see any infringement at all from Hickey but soon blew up the other way, and that is purely bad refereeing.

It was a dreadful afternoon for United all round, but the officiating across the league was wild at the weekend and that certainly extended to the Brentford Community Stadium.

In other Leeds United news, the BT Sport pundits were in hysterics during the game as one of the decisions were made.