Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella says Cristian Romero’s hair pull on him was “obvious” – labeling the decision not to punish the Tottenham defender as a “referee and VAR foul”.
Last weekend’s Super Sunday clash between Chelsea and Tottenham turned into drama when Romero was not penalized for pulling Cucurella’s hair when the Spurs attacked a corner. From the resulting stage of the game, Harry Kane headed home a late corner to equalize for 2-2, with managers Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel colliding full-time.
Chelsea boss Tuchel says both of Tottenham’s goals should not have been allowed last weekend and Cucurella believes referee Anthony Taylor and VAR Mike Dean made a mistake by failing to penalize the Tottenham defender.
“For me, it’s too obvious in the game, on the pitch,” Cucurella told a news conference when asked about the incident. “I haven’t seen it on TV, not in the video. I think it’s very clear, but this is a mistake by the referee or the VAR.”
“Sometimes the referees have good decisions, sometimes not. This is not my problem. Maybe we have to work harder not to concede this goal in the last minute.”
“I saw [VAR] checking for a red card in the stadium. For me it is clear. At the moment I don’t know what happened.”
Cucurella also joked that his hair is fine and that he will never consider changing his style – adding that there was no resentment towards Tottenham defender Romero.
“I have no problem with him,” the Spaniard added. “It’s only one move of the game, but maybe it was important because it changed the final result.
“It’s no problem for me. I spoke to him before the match [Romero]. I have no problem. It is only one action in the game. Perhaps an important action because it changes the end result. We still have a chance [to beat Spurs].”
Romero to avoid retroactive action for hair loss
Romero will not face retroactive effect for the incident late in the game on Sunday – as pulling a player’s hair is not considered an offense under football laws.
Post-match action can only be taken if both the match officials and the video officials do not see an incident on the pitch in real time and do not mention it in their post match report.
Had referee Taylor seen the incident in real time, the correct course of action would have been a free kick to Chelsea, which left Spurs unable to score from that particular attack.
Unlike rugby, the football laws do not specifically mention hair pulling. The officials must decide whether the extent of the hair pulling is forceful enough to be considered violent behavior.
Failure to do so will likely be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and result in a yellow card.
Tuchel: Taylor should not referee Chelsea games | “Where was the VAR?”
In his press conference after the game, Tuchel found that referee Taylor should no longer referee Chelsea games after Sunday’s performance.
In connection with the first Tottenham goal, Chelsea found a foul on Kai Havertz in the run-up. Taylor disagreed.
Referees have been told there is a higher threshold for fouls this season to improve play. However, the VAR did not look closely at the foul, as it was not in the same attacking phase as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s goal.
A possible interference from Richarlison, who was in an offside position when Hojbjerg hit the ball, was looked into. It was decided that his position would not negatively affect the position of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
When asked whether Taylor should never referee Chelsea again, the German replied: “Maybe it would be better.
“But honestly, we also have the VAR to make the right decisions. Since when can players get their hair pulled? Since when? If he doesn’t see it, I don’t blame him.”
“I haven’t seen it, but we have people in VAR checking this. How can this not be a free kick and how can it not be a red card? How?”
“This has nothing to do with the referee in this case. If he doesn’t see something, we therefore have people to check if there is a decisive foul.”
Since the match, Tuchel and Conte have both been charged with FA Rule E3 violations. It is alleged that the behavior of both managers was inappropriate after the match ended, with the pair having until Thursday to provide their respective answers.
Meanwhile, VAR official Dean has not been selected for a Premier League game this weekend after last Sunday’s controversial end. Referee Taylor takes charge of West Ham vs Brighton on Sunday.