The company behind the Premier League’s goalline technology system has apologised after an incredible error denied Sheffield United a goal in their 0-0 draw at Aston Villa.
Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland carried Oliver Norwood’s 42nd-minute free-kick over the line.
But referee Michael Oliver was not alerted by the technology to indicate a goal.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder blamed the referee for failing to realise that the ball had crossed the line.
“I think the goalkeeper was in the Holte End when he caught it,” said Blades boss Chris Wilder.
The owners of the technology Hawk-Eye said it “unreservedly apologises”, and acknowledged that the ball had gone over the line.
The company added it was the first time such an error had occurred in more than 9,000 matches using the system.
It explained that all seven of its cameras monitoring the goal were obscured by either the goalkeeper, a defender or the goalpost.
Hawk-Eye added that the system had been tested before the match, and was confirmed to be working by referee Oliver and his fellow officials.
Explaining why the video assistant referee had failed to call the referee’s attention to what amounted to a clear and obvious error, referee’s body the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) – said the “unique” situation of the on-field match officials not receiving a signal stymied the VAR.
The company said: “Hawk-Eye unreservedly apologises to the Premier League, Sheffield United and everyone affected by this incident.”
The game marked the return of the Premier League after a 100 days hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The goalless leaves the Blades in sixth in the Premier League, while Aston Villa remain 19th.