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Ian Holloway responds to being mocked over EU handball comments

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus saw a late goal ruled out following VAR review.

Pundit Ian Holloway has moved to clarify his comments over Brexit and the new handball law, arguing its introduction at the same time as VAR’s arrival in the Premier League has caused chaos.

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus saw what could have been a late winning goal for Manchester City against Tottenham on Saturday ruled out following a VAR review.

Under the new changes to the laws of the game which took effect from June 1, any use of the hand which leads to a goal or a goal-scoring opportunity will be penalised, whether intentional or otherwise.

Holloway was a guest on ‘The Debate’ show on Sky Sports during Tuesday evening, when he was asked for his view on the issue, after the VAR review had spotted the ball deflected to Jesus off the hand of City defender Aymeric Laporte.

The former QPR and Crystal Palace boss said the new rule which “doesn’t make sense” should be “got rid of straight away” and the incident was not a “clear and obvious” mistake.

Holloway then added: “I think that is people telling us what we should do with our game. They should stop doing that – I hope we get out, Brexit, because that’s what we all voted for. And sort that out because you cannot have someone telling us how to do our own game.”

Speaking to the PA news agency on Wednesday, Holloway, 56, wanted to make his reasoning behind the analogy clear.

“What I said was I am sick and fed up of other people telling us what we should do. I am not blaming the Brexit people for what they have done to football, it is just nonsense,” Holloway told PA.

“No way should they have changed that handball rule when they are bringing in VAR – and there is no way we should still be in the EU if we have all voted to get out.”

Almost 52 per cent of the population voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum.

Holloway added: “It is the same with UEFA and FIFA – I am sick and fed up of them trying to tell us how to run our game, we don’t need them.

Ian Holloway had a spell in the Premier League with Crystal Palace.
Ian Holloway had a spell in the Premier League with Crystal Palace (Peter Byrne/PA)

“Broadly I said that we were all fed up, our businesses, being dictated to by the EU what we are allowed to do. If you let us get on and let us do what we want to do as a nation, and what we could build, then I think we would be better.

“I don’t think we would have sat down and said, ‘I tell you what, what a great idea, let’s change the handball rule to a very cloudy one and let’s get VAR to check it on every single goal’.”

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which governs the laws of the game, has said there are no plans to review the rules surrounding handball. The organisation is made up of representatives from the United Kingdom’s four football associations and from FIFA.

Holloway, though, feels bringing in both VAR and the new handball rule to the Premier League at the same time has caused unnecessary confusion.

“Common sense tells you that you don’t change a lot of rules when you are trying to implement VAR coming in, that was the problem,” he said.

“It was not VAR which stops Man City’s goal, it was the fact that someone had decided to make a stupid rule up.”

Holloway added: “Where is the ‘clear and obvious’ mistake which we should be looking for?

“Why don’t the referees get mic’d up (to broadcast) like they do in rugby?

“We could do it in easily the big leagues – have them say: ‘I think that was a perfectly good goal, could you just tell me if there was a clear and obvious foul?'”

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