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VAR official removed from Champions League game after Mbappé’s late penalty

GENEVA (AP) – A video review official has been removed from his Champions League game yesterday, one day after having a key role in a disputed decision to award Paris Saint-Germain a stoppage-time penalty for handball against Newcastle which contradicted UEFA’s own advice to referees.

The VAR specialist from Poland Tomasz Kwiatkowski is no longer listed to work at the Real Sociedad-Salzburg game and has been replaced by a German match official.

In Paris on Tuesday, Kylian Mbappé scored in the eighth minute of stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw after a ball struck Newcastle defender Tino Livramento in the chest and then deflected off his arm, and a penalty was awarded by Polish referee Szymon Marciniak following a VAR review.

Marciniak refereed the Champions League final last season and the 2022 World Cup final with Kwiatkowski in his team.

Marciniak initially allowed play to continue Tuesday but awarded the penalty after he was advised by his video assistant to review the incident on the pitchside monitor.

However, a UEFA panel of storied coaches and former players said in April “no handball offence should be called on a player if the ball is previously deflected from his own body, and, in particular, when the ball does not go towards the goal.”

PSG players surround Referee Szymon Marciniak appealing for a penalty during the Champions League group F match. PHOTO: AP
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