Joey Barton: VAR would have cleared up Fleetwood Town’s disallowed goal against Bristol Rovers

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton called for the introduction of VAR in League One after a ‘goal’ by Ched Evans was disallowed in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Bristol Rovers.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 6:00 am
Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton

Evans’ 70th-minute effort was initially awarded only for referee Paul Marsden to change his decision because Paddy Madden had touched the ball in an offside position.

A touchline dispute ensued which saw Town’s head coach shown a red card and dispatched to the stands.

A calmer Barton reflected later: “If we had VAR we would know for sure. I’ve been worried about VAR in the last few weeks after watching Premier League games, but this is when I think we need it because we’d have an absolute decision.

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“You can’t argue with VAR because if they give it offside somebody has to have seen something.

“At this level, all the while we don’t have it you are going to have contentious issues like that and I don’t want to be watching the last 20 minutes from the directors’ box.”

Asked to explain precisely what happened on the touchline, Barton continued: “I got yellow-carded and then red-carded.

“I was yellow-carded, I think, because I didn’t realise I’d stepped out of the technical area and onto the pitch. I felt aggrieved but you can’t step onto the pitch.

“I thought the ref had changed his mind, then when I realised he hadn’t that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I spoke to the fourth official a bit too vehemently and watched the rest of the game from the stands.

“I’ll get punished by the FA and I’ll just have to take it, but I care about my team winning and I’ll never say sorry for that.

“I had no intention of getting annoyed with the officials and I never do, but it’s hard to keep your composure when you have three officials saying three different things to people.

“If they have got it wrong, it won’t be anything sinister – it’s an error. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

“And if they don’t have the technology to help them, it’s tough being a referee.

“But if they make a decision it should be absolute. They shouldn’t be going back and forth. It got chaotic because the officials lost control.”