Burnley part-owner JJ Watt brands VAR call for Luton Town equaliser 'disgraceful'

Late VAR drama costs Burnley dearly as Luton Town leave with a point

A controversial 92nd minute equaliser from Carlton Morris left Vincent Kompany struggling for answers, but a star of a sport in which violent physical contact is second nature in little doubt about the injustice served on Burnley.

The club’s minority owner JJ Watt, a retired legend of American gridiron football, spoke for his club’s manager and fan base when he took to social media to rage about VAR’s decision not to rule out the Luton goal for a foul by Elijah Adebayo on Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford.

“I’m new to this ownership thing, so if I get fined by the Premier League, so be it,” wrote Watt. “This is as blatant and obvious of a foul as you could have. To miss this on the field AND miss this on VAR is truly disgraceful.”

The crucial moment on the night, and possibly in the entire season’s relegation contest, came in the dying moments when substitute Morris rose to head in Alfie Doughty’s cross, with Trafford apparently impeded as he tried to catch.

“I don’t get it any more,” said Kompany. “There is a clear attempt to stop the goalkeeper coming out. The referee has got to get it right.

“What are we doing, seriously? It’s a joke. I don’t understand how we can go through those events and not come to the conclusion it’s a foul.

“We have a striker who has first looked at the goalkeeper, then taken a couple of steps backend backed into him to clear space for his colleague.

“The ball goes in and none of the Luton players are celebrating. Nobody. I was complaining but I was thinking that’s going to be given a foul. But then I realised it was going to Var and come to the ‘clear and obvious error’ again.

“Luckily, we have VAR so we think okay, that’s going to sort it out. But it rolls and rolls and lack of decision and then it’s 1-1.

“How many times is it going to keep happening? Maybe we will get a couple of lines in a newspaper or a feature on one of those things when they explain a referee’s decision. But the consequences are zero.

“We will go back to worrying about what Man United and Liverpool are doing and we move on. But I can’t give an explanation to my players as to what happened tonight. Come on boys!”

Vincent Kompany speaks to the fourth official after Luton's equaliser was allowed to stand
Vincent Kompany was measured in his post-match comments but unhappy with the decision - Getty Images/Oli Scarff

At that stage of proceedings, Burnley seemed to be heading towards what would have been just a second home win of the season and three points which would have lifted Burnley within one point of Luton and two from Everton and safety.

The lead had come during a lively first half spell from Burnley, on 36 minutes, when Lyle Foster broke from inside his own half, passing wide to Wilson Odobert whose cross from the by-line was turned in by Zeki Amdouni from eight yards.

The ball may have taken a slight touch off Johann Berg Gudmundsson on its way past Thomas Kaminski, and the Burnley man certainly played his part in distracting the Luton keeper as he attempted to block the shot.

Kompany’s team seemed well in control during the second half and a second goal might have come, notably when Odobert’s long shot took a wicked deflection off Teden Mengi and forced Kaminski into a scrambling stop.

But, for a team that had lost nine of its 10 home games to that point, a one-goal lead was always tenuous, as Luton proved, with manager Rob Edwards insistent that his team deserved their stroke of luck.

“This team doesn’t give up,” he said. “We found a way, whatever way it was, and I can understand Vinny’s frustration.

“But VAR is there to show if there are decisions that are blatantly wrong and I don’t think it’s blatantly wrong.”

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