Ex-Sunderland boss sides with Newcastle United as he demands UEFA change following PSG VAR shocker

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Newcastle United won't be forgetting the VAR shocker anytime soon and Big Sam has called for more punishment.

Former Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has demanded that referee Szymon Marciniak be stood down from Champions League duty in the aftermath of the late penalty that saw Paris Saint-Germain equalise against Newcastle United last week.

It may have been nearly a week since the drama at the Parc des Princes but the significant effect of the decision means conversation around VAR's interference won't be going away anytime soon. The Magpies can still qualify for the Champions League knockout stage if they beat AC Milan next week, but that task would have been much easier if they were not robbed of two points at the death against PSG.

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Eddie Howe's side had battled against the Ligue 1 club for 90 minutes to hold onto a 1-0 lead through an early Alexander Isak goal, only to see the hard work undone by a Kylian Mbappe spot kick in the 98th minute. Full-back Tino Livramento was judged to have committed a handball, despite the ball first hitting his chest. VAR decided to intervene and Marciniak agreed with the penalty after checking his pitch-side monitor.

As a result, VAR official Tomasz Kwiatkowski was stood down from his match the next day between Real Sociedad and Salzburg and now veteran manager Allardyce has demanded the same happen with the on-field referee.

The former Leeds United and Everton boss, who has also managed the Magpies and the Black Cats in his long career, said on the No Tippy Tappy Football podcast: “The incident has been well talked about and it still needs looking at further. They have stood down the person who was in charge of VAR, but realistically, the referee himself needs to be stood down as well. In the end, it is still his decision, although the VAR should’ve told him to carry on with the game because his initial decision was correct. What people aren’t talking about is the fact that, luckily for Newcastle, it wasn’t the difference between them qualifying and not. Imagine if three points would have guaranteed them a place in the knockout stages and that decision had gone against them.”

Allardyce spent less than 12 months in charge at St James' Park in 2007 as Newcastle United underwent huge change with Mike Ashley completing his takeover of the club. The manager enjoyed a strong start to his time on Tyneside but results in the festive period soured before his dismissal in January 2008.

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Sam Allardyce is an admirer of Eddie Howe at Newcastle United. (Image: Getty Images)Sam Allardyce is an admirer of Eddie Howe at Newcastle United. (Image: Getty Images)
Sam Allardyce is an admirer of Eddie Howe at Newcastle United. (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Speaking about the current Newcastle United side, the 69-year-old said: “Eddie Howe hasn’t got a big enough squad at the moment,” said Allardyce. “He doesn’t have the depth to cope with the pressure of the Champions League midweek, with the expectations, the travel, and the mental side of it, and then to come and compete in the Premier League at the weekend.

“If things start going slightly the other way, it is not going to be accepted by the Newcastle fans and press. What he has done has been outstanding and they are still growing – I just hope the owners realise what a fantastic season they’re having again. Of course, it would have been great to go through to the last 16 of the Champions League by beating PSG in Paris, but they can still take great pride in what they have done.

“He has built his team on the base of good, solid experience and a very good defence. Your defence needs to be good, and in today’s football, there are too many poor defences. His good defensive strategy, tied in with the attacking quality that Newcastle now have, is why they are doing so well.”

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