Ex-Premier League referee brushes off theory why Scotland were denied penalty in Euro 2024 exit

Scotland were left furious with referee Facundo Tello

Scotland were left furious with referee Facundo Tello

Stuart Ballard

By Stuart Ballard

Published: 24/06/2024

- 17:04

Updated: 24/06/2024

- 17:31

EXCLUSIVE: Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey spoke to GB News about the controversial penalty decision that went against Scotland in their exit from Euro 2024.

Former Premier League official Mark Halsey can't understand why VAR didn't intervene to correct a 'clear error' from referee Facundo Tello in not awarding Scotland a late penalty in their controversial loss to Hungary on Sunday.

Scotland were knocked out of the Euros after Kevin Csoboth scored a 100th-minute winner for Hungary, who have now given themselves a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage as one of the best third-placed teams.

But Scotland felt they should have been awarded a penalty earlier in the match when Stuart Armstrong went down inside the box under a challenge from Willi Orban.

Argentine referee Tello waved away strong protests from Scotland players for a penalty and the VAR official Alejandro Hernandez opted not to intervene.

The incident proved costly and Steve Clarke was incensed after the match who demanded an explanation as to why a penalty was not given.

Halsey heard one theory as to why VAR didn't intervene was because Armstrong had a hold Orban's shirt, suggesting it was more of a 50-50 challenge.

Scotland were left furious with referee Facundo Tello

Scotland were left furious with referee Facundo Tello


However, the former Premier League referee explained that the shirt grab was only as a result of Orban colliding into Armstrong first.

"I thought when I watched it in real-time, I thought straight away, my immediate thought was, that's a penalty," he told GB News.

"And the reason why I thought that was because Armstrong was in front of the defender.

"So when you've got a forward bearing down on goal, the attacker behind him, it's always going to be contact.

"It's virtually impossible to play the ball from that angle. I thought it was clumsy. "When I saw the replay, I thought, 'yes, that is a penalty', because what you see is that he goes into the back of Armstrong's knee, and that causes him to go down.

"Then obviously people were saying, 'Yeah, but he had a hold of his shirt'.

"Well, he only gets hold of his shirt when he starts going down, when he's fouled.

"I was surprised. I don't think that was subjective. I thought that was a clear error from the referee.

"It happens so fast and that's what you look at VAR for, to come in and help on those situations.

"I was surprised that VAR didn't recommend a review. Had they recommended a review, I think the penalty definitely would have been given."

There was plenty of confusion and anger from Scottish fans inside the ground and watching at home as they were left wanting for an explanation on the decision.

Halsey, speaking to GB News on behalf of Online Poker, feels the use of VAR has been largely positive and well-implemented throughout the tournament.

Mark Halsey couldn't understand why VAR didn't intervene

Mark Halsey couldn't understand why VAR didn't intervene


However, the 62-year-old believes the lack of communication for the paying crowd is still holding VAR back and causing more harm than good.

"I think what we need to hear is the conversation between VAR and the referee," he added.

"I know the media, they hear what's being said by a VAR to the referee, but they don't hear what the referee says back to the VAR. So I think that it's really important that we hear that.

"Obviously, it cannot happen unless FIFA and the IFAB say it can. But we need to. We're in 2024.


Scotland were knocked out of the Euros after losing to Hungary

Scotland were knocked out of the Euros after losing to Hungary


"We hear it in other sports. We hear it in rugby. We hear it in cricket. Why are we not hearing it in football? The biggest spectacle in the world.

"So, yeah, I think the fans deserve to know. They spend all the money. They pay a lot of money to travel around the world watching these tournaments.

"To be fair, I think in the tournament, in the FIFA tournament and the UEFA tournament, VAR has been extremely well-run.

"I think it's been really good. You're always going to get the little kick-ups that you get in a big tournament.

"I think it's important that the fans need to hear, just to get clarity."

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