Brighton players frustrated by little-known VAR rule in Chelsea defeat

Brighton players left frustrated by little-known rule which denied them the chance to salvage a late draw after having late penalty claim in Chelsea defeat overturned by VAR

  • Ten-man Chelsea held off a late challenge from Brighton to win 3-2 on Sunday
  • The Seagulls were frustrated as little-known VAR rule denied them a late corner 
  • We expected perfection from VAR – we haven’t got it: Listen to It’s All Kicking Off 

Brighton’s players and supporters were left fuming after a little-known VAR rule cost the Seagulls a late corner when pressing for an equaliser at Chelsea on Sunday.

An Enzo Fernandez brace helped the Blues to a 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge, but a stoppage time goal from Joao Pedro had reduced the deficit, and there was further drama when referee Craig Pawson appeared to give the Seagulls a penalty.

However, a VAR check led to Pawson consulting the screen, and judging that Levi Colwill – formerly at Brighton as a loan player – was not guilty of handball, with the ball hitting his face before going out for a corner kick.

VAR rules mean that action restarts from a drop ball after a reversed VAR call, and not a continuation in play from where the action stopped. 

This led to some frustration among the Brighton players, who were denied an opportunity to try and snatch an equaliser from the set piece. 

Brighton’s players and supporters fumed as a little-known VAR rule cost the Seagulls a corner

The incident happened after referee Craig Pawson overturned a penalty decision at Chelsea

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Pawson applied the rules correctly in this instance – but it did not prevent some fans online from complaining about ‘corruption’. 

One fan took to X (formerly Twitter) to write: WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!!????? 

‘VAR (WRONGLY) SUGGEST ON-FIELD REVIEW FOR HANDBALL. Not given (fine) but the ball went out for our corner to us!! But the ref restarts with a drop ball! 


Another user of the platform had to explain the situation, which is not common knowledge among football fans. They wrote: ‘Unfortunately that is the law now. Any penalty overturned by VAR will result in a drop ball to the keeper’.    

A third added: ‘We didn’t even get a corner wtf is this corruption?’

However, other users were more understanding of Pawson’s application of the law, noting: ‘The referee made the right call. Brighton fans should shut their mouth’. 

Enzo Fernandez and Levi Colwill got first half goals to give Chelsea a two-goal cushion at Stamford Bridge.

Fans took to X (formerly Twitter) to discuss the little-known drop ball rule, and its ramifications

Brighton’s Facundo Buonanotte made a smart curling finish from inside the box to make it 2-1, before Blues captain Conor Gallagher was sent off for a second bookable offence. 

Fernandez made it 3-1 to the hosts in the 65th minute from the penalty spot, but Joao Pedro’s 92nd minute strike created a grandstand finish.  

Ultimately, Brighton were unable to find a third goal, and left London empty handed. 

Brighton now go into a run of three consecutive home games, with league games against Brentford and Burnley ahead of their last Europa League group game against Marseille.  

Joao Pedro’s 92nd minute goal created a close finish, but Chelsea were just able to hold on 


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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