Following the contentious goal scored by Tomas Soucek during Thursday night’s clash between West Ham and Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Thierry Henry has advocated for the implementation of bird’s-eye view cameras in the Premier League.
Soucek managed to find the back of the net for West Ham, although the ball seemingly went out of play in the lead-up to the goal. The decision underwent scrutiny by VAR official Craig Pawson, yet the lack of conclusive evidence led to the goal standing. West Ham secured a 2-0 victory, with Konstantinos Mavropanos also contributing to the scoreline.
This incident marks the second occasion this season where Arsenal conceded a goal amid controversy about the ball narrowly staying in play. The earlier instance occurred in their 1-0 defeat against Newcastle in November.
Henry, a revered figure among Gunners fans, is now urging the Premier League to take action.
In an interview with Amazon Prime, Henry expressed his frustration, stating, “That is the second time for us, along with Newcastle away. If you want to help the referees to get the right angles when the ball is out, you have to be above the ball. There is no other way to see whether the ball is out or not.”
Voicing his exasperation with the current technological setup, Henry emphasised the need for an overhead camera, asserting, “We are in 2023, nearly 2024, and we still don’t have a camera from above. It’s too many times where you don’t know whether the ball is pulled back, the ball is out. Can we have a camera that can be above that we can see if the ball is out or not?”
Despite Henry’s adamant stance on the necessity of a bird’s-eye camera, fellow Amazon Prime pundit Alan Shearer defended the decision made by referees Pawson and Michael Oliver. Shearer acknowledged the principle of VAR’s ‘clear and obvious’ rule, stating, “It’s not conclusive evidence, I don’t think to say that should be disallowed.”
Explaining the decision further, ex-referee Mark Clattenburg clarified, “There is no other decision that the match officials can give. The assistant referee who is on the goal-line does not say that the ball has clearly gone out of play, so the on-field decision is a goal.”