This could mean Everton goalkeeper Pickford could still get a three-game ban if the FA looks again after receiving referee Michael Oliver’s report.
It is understood that the VAR – which was directed by David Coote – viewed the incident as a possible sanction, but because video technology deemed it out of play, they took no further action. .
The VAR can only give advice on red cards rather than yellows and the double jeopardy rule means that it cannot be a penalty and expulsion if the player makes a real attempt to play the ball.
It is admitted that the VAR should have urged Oliver to go and watch the on-screen incident as it is believed the referee was unable to see the challenge through a crowd of players.
But somewhere between the sets of rules and laws, the VAR and Oliver may not have fully explored possible eviction in isolation, and while this would be a first since video technology was introduced, the FA could now punish in retrospect if Oliver and Coote admit they missed him.
The FA will now wait for Oliver’s report before making a decision, but they may have that option after Liverpool complained to the Premier League and demanded an explanation for the van Dijk incident and Jordan Henderson ruled out a winner of additional time.
Premier League chiefs discussed in February the introduction of a ‘tolerance level’ which, in the tightest of margins, would allow goals to hold up as with Henderson.
Should Pickford be banned for his challenge? Give your opinion below.
But FIFA have taken over the management of VAR this season and are strict about no tolerance, with the Premier League insisting they are using the best technology at their disposal.
Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero is unlikely to face any action from the FA despite placing his hand on the shoulder of linesman Sian Massey-Ellis in Manchester City’s victory over Arsenal.
Despite a huge amount of criticism on social media, Massey-Ellis is considered one of the best and most experienced public servants who probably won’t have been bowled over by this.
It is also not a crime to touch an official until it is done aggressively and the matter goes further.
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