UEFA stands down VAR after PSG handball penalty vs. Newcastle

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Why VAR was wrong to award PSG a penalty for handball vs. Newcastle (2:08)

Dale Johnson reacts after VAR Tomasz Kwiatkowski was removed from duty by UEFA for another Champions League game. (2:08)

The VAR who awarded Paris Saint-Germain's controversial added-time penalty against Newcastle United in the Champions League has been removed from duty by UEFA on a game on Wednesday night.

Polish VAR Tomasz Kwiatkowski sent referee Szymon Marciniak to the pitchside monitor in the 96th minute of Tuesday's match after the ball struck the arm of Tino Livramento, which was judged to be making his body bigger and creating a barrier.

Marciniak overturned his decision and gave the penalty to PSG, converted by Kylian Mbappé to earn the home side a crucial 1-1 draw which left qualification for the round of 16 in the French club's control.

They are two of the highest-ranking officials in the game. Kwiatkowski was the VAR for last year's World Cup final between Argentina and France, with Marciniak the match referee.

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Kwiatkowski was due to act as VAR for Wednesday's meeting between Real Sociedad and FC Salzburg, but the role will now be taken on by German official Marco Fritz. It remains to be seen if Marciniak isn't selected for a game on Matchday 6.

It's an indication that UEFA believes the decision to advise the spot kick was a mistake by Kwiatkowski, which could have serious implications on Newcastle's hopes of reaching the knockout rounds.

In the 71st minute of the game the ball hit the arm of Newcastle's Lewis Miley in similar circumstances, yet the VAR didn't intervene.

However, although the ball deflected off the body of Livramento before it hit his arm this alone isn't the consideration against a penalty. Livramento's arm position wasn't extended away from his body and was a consequence of his body movement, so shouldn't have been a handball offence.

In April, the UEFA Football Board, a collection of former players and coaches which acts as an advisory body, said that deflections off the body onto the arm should not be penalised. However, this recommendation was not taken forward as it would be against IFAB guidelines of the handball law as a blanket exemption.

If all deflections off the body created an automatic exemption, players could get away with blocking crosses with their arms outstretched. Only if a player deliberate kicks or heads the ball and it strikes their outstretched arm is a handball offence automatically ruled out.

Handball is penalised far more strictly in UEFA competition than in any domestic league. The frequency of handball penalties is more than twice that seen in LaLiga, the league with the highest number, and almost four times that of the Premier League.

Champions League: 0.234 (46 in 197 games)
LaLiga: 0.110 (57 in 518)
Bundesliga: 0.099 (41 in 414)
Serie A: 0.090 (46 in 510)
Ligue 1: 0.086 (34 in 494)
Premier League: 0.062 (31 in 500)

Statistic shows the frequency of handball penalties per game since the start of last season.