Following Emma Hayes’s criticism of the refereeing in Chelsea’s Champions League draw with Real Madrid, UEFA has responded.
The Chelsea manager Emma Hayes showed dissatisfaction with refereeing decisions, alleging that her team was unfairly denied a 3-1 victory due to controversial calls, including a non-existent penalty and a disallowed injury-time winner incorrectly ruled offside.
TV replays showed that Jessie Fleming’s foul occurred outside the box, and Niamh Charles was onside before scoring what could have been the winning goal.
Despite these errors, UEFA defended the absence of VAR in Women’s Champions League matches against Hayes’ cmments, citing “significant technical, operational, and logistical challenges.”
In a statement, UEFA said: “The implementation of VAR in European competitions involves significant technical, operational, and logistical challenges. To address these challenges, UEFA has developed a gradual plan to introduce VAR in the majority of matches, starting with men’s and women’s club and national team competitions. UEFA already plans to implement VAR at the UEFA Women’s Nations League finals next year and will continuously evaluate the possibility to implement VAR in competitions or stages of competitions where it hasn’t been so far.”
Emma Hayes had previously criticized the absence of goal-line technology and VAR in the Women’s Super League after Chelsea’s goal was disallowed in their opening match against Tottenham. Despite the ball crossing the line before Guro Reiten, officials believed Ashleigh Neville’s clearance prevented it from fully crossing. The future USWNT boss was highly critical of the decision, describing it as “embarrassing” and “ludicrous.”
As controversies surrounding refereeing decisions persist, there is an increasing demand for technological support in women’s football in both England and Europe. However, in the immediate future, Chelsea will be hoping for accurate refereeing as they face Liverpool in their next WSL fixture.