Manchester United vs Brighton encountered a chaotic conclusion as a late penalty handed the Red Devils victory.
Brighton thought they had snatched a point with an injury time Solly March equaliser.
But Neal Maupay was penalised for handball after a VAR check in the dying seconds – giving Bruno Fernandes a penalty after the final whistle had blown.
Referee Chris Kavanagh blew his whistle to end the game immediately after March headed Maguire’s effort off the line.
Yet he was immediately surrounded by protesting United players and went over to the pitch side monitor to check the incident.
Fernandes took the penalty, found the back of the net for a 3-2 win and the full-time whistle was again blown afterwards.
When VAR was initially introduced, VAR lead Neil Swabrick revealed there was a procedure in place for such an incident in a Q&A with Crystal Palace ‘s website.
And it appears Kavanagh did not follow that procedure as he failed to blow the whistle a single time and put his finger to his ear and his palm out to show a VAR check.
The speed of the incident, with the whistle blown seemingly before VAR could intervene and check the handball, showed a possible flaw in the system and left Brighton feeling aggrieved.
Swarbrick was asked: “If an incident occurs in the final seconds of play that the referee does not spot and the VAR is reviewing it, what happens once the final whistle has been blown? Will the referee allow a match to play for too long if they know something is being checked?”
“We’ve got a process in place for that,” he explained.
“When an incident is being checked, the first thing that happens is the VAR will automatically engage the referee.
“They’ll press a red button and tell the referee they’re checking a decision.
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“While the check is taking place and the referee is fully aware that time is up, they will give a single blow of the whistle to stop play.
“They will blow their whistle, stop play, put their left finger to their ear and put their palm out to show everyone a VAR is checking the decision.
“Everyone stops on the field of play. The check will take place, the VAR will come back and say: ‘check complete.’
“The referee will then blow for half time or full time. If the review advises a decision is made, the referee will indicate that, the screen will show the incident and a decision will be made.”
A similar incident took place at halftime of a Bundesliga game last season and the referee claimed a check after the whistle would not be allowed to happen at full-time.
“It is like it is,” the referee said.
“The half-time whistle only interrupts the game. If it had happened after the final whistle, we would not have been able to review it. That’s a fundamental thing in the regulations.”