VAR used for first time in English football as Brighton knock Crystal Palace out of FA Cup


English football saw the first use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in a competitive game as Brighton knocked Crystal Palace out of the FA Cup on Monday.

In a game which otherwise featured just one booking, Glenn Murray’s late bundled winner was reviewed by Neil Swarbrick, sitting in a control room in west London, and ruled as legal over concerns of handball.

The new system will now be seen in the EFL Cup semi-finals this week as part of continuing international trials of the new technology that will be used for match-changing incidents.

Referee Andre Marriner was seen listening to instructions in an earpiece in the 87th minute after Murray got on the end of Uwe Hunemeier’s header. Some television replays were initially unclear whether the ball brushed against Murray’s arm before falling into the net.

“It wasn’t my arm,” Murray insisted to BT Sport after the game. “The VAR would have pulled me back if it was … I just needed to get something on it and luckily I did. I got my hip or my knee on it.”

Bakary Sako levelled for Palace in the 69th when he struck the ball from distance in off the post, canceling out Dale Stephens’ first-opener opener.

Murray’s winner on the south coast set up a fourth-round meeting a second-tier side Middlesbrough.

Football’s law-making body International Football Association Board (IFAB) is expected to decide next March whether to allow video assistant referees to become part of the game on a permanent basis.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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