UEFA respond to Emma Hayes claiming Chelsea were ‘robbed’ of victory against Real Madrid

Chelsea were held to a controversial 2-2 draw against Real Madrdi in the Women's Champions League.

UEFA respond to Emma Hayes claiming Chelsea were ‘robbed’ of victory against Real Madrid
Real Madrid CF v Chelsea FC Women: Group D - UEFA Women's Champions League 2023/24
Emma Hayes was livid with the officials after Chelsea’s draw with Real Madrid (Photo: Getty)

UEFA have issued a response to Chelsea boss Emma Hayes after she claimed her side were ‘robbed’ against Real Madrid thanks to ’embarrassing’ refereeing.

Chelsea were held to a controversial 2-2 draw against Real in their Women’s Champions League opener last Wednesday.

Late on in the game, referee Frida Klarlund awarded a penalty to Los Blancos for a foul on Athenea del Castillo even though the tackle happened outside the box, with no VAR to overturn the decision.

The spot-kick was scored to level the match, but the Blues appeared to bagged a last-gasp winner when Niamh Charles volleyed home a deep cross – only to see the offside flag raised.

But replays of the incident quickly revealed that Charles had been well onside, with team-mate Sam Kerr in an offside position, and while the Australian did make a run towards the ball, it did not seem significant enough to rule out the goal.

Hayes, who will leave Chelsea at the end of the season to take over the US women’s team, was livid, saying: ‘I could see from the bench that the tackle [for the penalty decision] was outside the box. So I’m absolutely shocked that those managing the game couldn’t see that.

‘It is embarrassing. I cannot understand the decision [for the offside] whatsoever. I think we’ve been robbed of what was a 3-1 game.’

Celtic FC v SS Lazio: Group E - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
VAR is yet to be introduced to the Women’s Champions League (Photo: Getty)

Though its use in the Premier League has been under intense scrutiny recently, there is no doubt that the Video Assistant Referee would have spotted both mistakes and corrected them.

VAR has been used in the men’s Champions League since 2019, but is yet to be implemented in the Women’s competition, but appears that this incident has prompted UEFA to speed up its introduction.

In a statement released on Friday, the governing body responded to Hayes’ comments, saying: ‘The implementation of VAR in European competitions involves significant technical, operational, and logistical challenges.

‘To address these challenges, UEFA has developed a gradual plan to introduce VAR in the majority of matches, starting with men’s and women’s club and national team competitions.

‘UEFA already plans to implement VAR at the UEFA Women’s Nations League finals next year and will continuously evaluate the possibility to implement VAR in competitions or stages of competitions where it hasn’t been so far.’

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