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Gary Bowyer speaks out after controversial incident in Oxford’s win over Bradford

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Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer says VAR should be introduced at all levels of professional football, following the confusion that reigned at the conclusion of his 1-0 defeat to Oxford in a crucial League One six pointer on Saturday.

Jamie Mackie thought he had given Oxford a 94th winner at the Kassam Stadium, but with Bradford preparing to take the kick off, the was initially ruled out after consultation between referee Andy Davies and one of his linesman.

That was thought to be because the goal kick that launched the counter attack from which Mackie put the ball in the Bradford net did not leave the Oxford penalty area, before being brought under control by a second Oxford player.

Then, after much discussion, frustration, and above all confusion, the goal was given following talks between Davies and his other linesman, which, with just seconds remaining in the game, was enough to give The U’s a vital three points in the battle for survival.

Speaking about the prospect of VAR in the aftermath of events, Bowyer told The Telegraph and Argus: “I saw a couple of the Oxford lads signalling to the stand ‘VAR’,

“What’s that all about?

“They wanted someone to check it for the game – but it’s not here.

“But that’s where VAR has got to come in.

Bowyer went on to explain: “It’s designed for moments like this, penalties, goals, whether the ball has crossed the line. It’s just absolute carnage.

“You’ll be talking about it forever but we’ve got to make sure that we get over it very quickly.”

Away from the incident, that result, coupled with AFC Wimbledon’s victory over Southend , means that The Bantams have now dropped to the bottom of the League One table with just eight games of the season remaining.

The verdict

There is an argument that it is in games further down the leagues, where officials are perhaps less experienced or confident in their judgements, is where VAR would perhaps be of the most benefit to the referees, while the argument about smaller grounds not being able to facilitate VAR is negated by its use in Burton’s game at home to Manchester City in Carabao Cup Semi Final earlier this season.

That is particularly when the costs of relegation to a club in the lower levels can be so much harder to deal with, and as could be the case here, that could well hurt even more when it comes as a result of a moment as hard to understand as this.

One thing that is clear, with match officials now having to make their to and from games together for safety reasons, that must have been an awkward trip home.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Gary Bowyer speaks out after controversial incident in Oxford’s win over Bradford

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