Declan Rice claimed “pretty much every Premier League player” wants the VAR system kicked out of football after West Ham were denied a last-gasp equaliser against Sheffield United.
Rice looked like he had set up Robert Snodgrass’ leveller in stoppage time at Bramall Lane, only for the video assistant referee to disallow the goal due to an accidental handball from the England international.
Although Rice accepts the rules implemented for this season were applied correctly, he believes it was a “crazy” decision and insists top-flight players would like VAR to be scrapped.
“Livid. It’s a really tough place to come and play. I thought we did well. A point on the road here would have been good for us,” Rice told Sky Sports.
“I’ve just watched it back before coming on camera. [The defender] has knocked the ball into my hand. I know I’m in a forward running motion, but he’s headed the ball into my hand and of course if you’re running with your arms out then it’s handball in the rules but I’ve not intentionally meant to handball it.
“Of course you play on, Michael [Oliver, the referee] hasn’t seen it. The VAR checks it and it’s a real kick in the teeth.
“I don’t think it’s just me. It’s the thought of pretty much every Premier League player. I don’t think anybody wants to have VAR in the game.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) January 10, 2020
“There’s been so many decisions this season that have been crazy. Obviously sometimes it works but you see there, they’re celebrating VAR like it’s a goal. Football shouldn’t be like that. The emotions there that the West Ham fans showed when we equalised, that’s real emotion.
“I don’t think we’re all too happy with it to be honest, but it’s in the game now and we’ve just got to get on with it.
“I just can’t get over it, the way he’s knocked it into my hand. I’ve not intentionally meant to handball it. I can’t get over it, it’s crazy.”
Rice’s sentiment was largely echoed by West Ham manager David Moyes, who believed his side, beaten 1-0 on the night, would have been worthy of a point.
“We’re disappointed in the end that we scored a really good goal and it didn’t count,” Moyes told Sky Sports.
“It was a good goal, wasn’t it. Whoever was checking it, I think they’ve got it wrong because it was a really good bit of play by Declan Rice. Where do you put your hands, tie them behind your back? I saw nothing wrong with it at all.”
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