Inter are still fuming about the penalty awarded to Juventus when they hosted the Bianconeri on Sunday evening, feeling that it was inconsistent with other VAR decisions in Serie A.
This according to today’s print edition of Rome-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport, who highlight some of the other instances where VAR was not used to correct on-pitch decisions and award penalties despite similar levels of contact to the incident in which the Bianconeri were given a spot kick.
There was no doubt that Denzel Dumfries made contact with the foot of Juventus left-back Alex Sandro with a clumsy challenge after the ball had gone and that the contact had taken place inside the penalty area.
However, during the match referee Maurizio Mariani noticed the incident from what appeared to be a clear vantage and signalled for the players to continue on.
The VAR advised Mariani to have another look at the incident and, upon review, he decided that there was enough in the challenge to award a penalty.
The Nerazzurri feel that they were hard done by as this use of VAR was inconsistent with the overall standard of its use in Serie A, where the threshold of when to intervene on penalties tends to be relatively high.
VAR has been used to spot blatant fouls in the area which have been missed by on-pitch officials, but when there has been any ambiguity, the challenges could be interpreted as 50/50, or the fouls look to be very soft then an on-pitch decision not to award a penalty has almost always been upheld after a VAR review.
When the Nerazzurri travelled to the Bentegodi to face Hellas Verona, for example, Verona midfielder Martin Hongla appeared to make contact on the foot of Lautaro Martinez while the pair were fighting for the ball in the area.
The official did not see enough in the challenge to give a penalty and the VAR upheld the decision, preferring to let the game go on rather than see a lengthy stoppage and a penalty for the questionable contact.
Once again in the match immediately before the Nerazzurri faced off against Juventus, Napoli’s trip to the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma, a very similar incident looked to have taken place.
Partenopei midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was rushing into the box when Giallorossi defender Matias Vina seemed to take him out with a clumsy tackle.
There seemed to be a sense that the VAR could intervene to give a penalty to Napoli for the contact, but once again the incident did not meet the threshold for the intervention to overturn an on-pitch decision.
Based on these and other incidents, the general priority of the VAR guidelines in Serie A would seem to be that unless a penalty is blatant, then the VAR officials will not step in to overturn the immediate reaction of the on-pitch referee who has seen the incident.
Why, then, was Mariani given the advice to have a second look at the challenge between Dumfries and Sandro at the San Siro on Sunday?
The contact was there to see but the official had appeared confident that there was not enough for a foul whether in or out of the box when he had seen it in real time.
Nevertheless, the VAR appeared to deem the foul to be clear enough that correcting the decision was worth the lengthy stoppage to the game and the awarding of a crucial late penalty in circumstances which could certainly be seen as excessively harsh.
For this reason Inter want answers, as they feel that there has almost always been a certain standard for the use of VAR which was seemingly suspended just in time to cause them to drop points in a key head-to-head match and leave them seven points off the top of the table rather than five.