An oversight by the VAR official has resulted in a full replay of a Belgian Pro League match between Genk and Anderlecht.

On December 23, at Anderlecht’s Lotto Park, Genk lost 2-1 in the Belgian Pro League. Accusing a mistake in the VAR judgment, they filed a complaint with the Referee Department after the controversial match.

It happened when Anderlecht goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel stopped a penalty kick by Bryan Heynan in the 23rd minute. However, Yira Sor was able to tap in the rebound after he just parried the ball.

But the video assistant referee thought Sor had invaded the penalty area, thus the home side got a free kick. On the other hand, the video evidence also indicated that two Anderlecht players had intruded into the penalty area during the penalty kick.

Due to the video assistant referees’ inability to identify the two defenders, a disciplinary panel recommended a rematch after the game. What this meant was that the penalty kick should have been retaken.

Unfortunately for the visitors, the Purple & White came out on top in the end thanks to a goal by Anders Dreyer in the 91st minute.

Genk apppealed against the Belgian VAR decision

The Belgian governing authority for refereeing had originally decided against replaying the game. They blamed the occurrence on a mistake with the VAR system instead of a violation of the rules of the game.

Genk, nevertheless, took the matter up with the Disciplinary Council for Professional Football. It was at that point that they decided to reverse the verdict of the officiating committee and mandate a complete game replay.

It makes no difference whether the penalty kick is successful. According to Law 14.3 of the International Football Association Board, the penalty kick must be retaken if both the attacking and defending players enter the penalty area prematurely.

Genk fans encouraged their club to pursue legal action in the aftermath of the VAR controversy
Genk fans encouraged their club to pursue legal action in the aftermath of the VAR controversy

Genk fans encouraged their club to pursue legal action in the aftermath of the VAR controversy

“The Disciplinary Council for Professional Football has ruled that the Anderlecht-KRC Genk match at the end of last year should be replayed”, Genk said in response to the ruling.

“The disciplinary council initially declared itself competent to rule on the matter. This overturned the earlier decision of the Professional Referee Department not to replay the match.

“The council then followed KRC Genk’s argument that the match officials misapplied the rules at the penalty phase in question. KRC Genk hopes that a date will be found soon to replay the match.”

Should Premier League follow suit?

The rematch doesn’t yet have a date. In Belgium’s premier division, Genk are in fifth place right now, with Anderlecht in second.

Replaying the match does establish a precedent in Belgium, which will have repercussions throughout Europe, especially in England. On that occasion, due to what was described as “significant human error,” Luis Diaz’s goal for Liverpool against Tottenham was wrongly disallowed for offside.

But VAR was unable to reverse the on-field judgment. This led the Reds to want a rematch, which the Premier League ultimately turned down.

Following the mistake, Jurgen Klopp stated: “I think the only outcome should be a replay. That’s how it is. It probably will not happen. The argument against that will probably be if you open that gate then everybody will ask for it. I think the situation is that unprecedented that a replay would be the right thing.”

Photo credits: IMAGO / Isosport : IMAGO / Photo News.