Why UEFA replaced PSG-Newcastle VAR
A controversial decision was made by the onfield referee, but only after it was highlighted by Tomasz Kwiatkowski, who’s been stepped down.
The scandal in the PSG-Newcastle Champions League match will have immediate consequences. The Video Assistant Referee for Tuesday evening’s game in Paris, Tomasz Kwiatkowski from Poland, has been removed from doing the same role for the Wednesday match that Real Sociedad is set to play against RB Salzburg at the Reale Arena.
PSG VAR removed from action
The controversy surrounded the contentious penalty that was signalled by the VAR, calling for a screen review by his compatriot, the on-field referee Szymon Marciniak. There was outrage in England and beyond as PSG were awarded the spot kick for a handball offence deep into added-on time, which Kylian Mbappé duly converted to secure a share of the spoils. The morning after this event has seen UEFA withdraw Kwiatkowski from the VAR role for Wednesday, although there is no official confirmation of the reason why from European football’s governing body as yet.
That said, UEFA has stated that it is resolute when it comes to refereeing errors, and aims to avoid additional and unnecessary pressures, hence the decision is likely to have been made before scrutiny intensifies over any missteps in San Sebastián. Real Sociedad has already secured a place in the round of 16 - along with the others in the draw - but their hopes of topping the group are at stake against the Austrian side and in the subsequent match against Inter.
Who will replace Kwiatkowski in VAR?
Kwiatkowski will be replaced by the German official Marco Fritz, who previously served as the VAR referee for the Shakhtar-Antwerp match held in Hamburg.
Despite the controversy over Kwiatkowski, it feels appropriate to remember that the decision to award the crucial penalty was not his. That, as always, falls to the man in the middle of the action. We will see if Szymon Marciniak is involved in the final group stage games in two weeks.