Emma Hayes calls for 'all in or all out' VAR after Chelsea dumped out of FA Cup

Mayra Ramirez and Emma Hayes look dejected after losing to Manchester United
Mayra Ramirez and Emma Hayes look dejected after losing to Manchester United -Credit:Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has reiterated her stance on the need for consistency in the use of VAR technology following her team's 'disappointing' 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday.

Hayes expressed frustration after Chelsea's experience with VAR in the League Cup final against Arsenal, where a goal was disallowed due to a handball, leading to a 1-0 loss in extra time. Despite VAR being used in that match, it was notably absent during the FA Cup semi-finals.

The Women's Super League currently does not implement VAR in league games, and its application varies in European and domestic cup competitions, depending on the facilities at each stadium.

During the semi-final clash with United, Chelsea were seemingly denied two penalties in the second half as they tried to claw back from an early two-goal deficit. The first incident involved a potential handball by United's Katie Zelem, while the second saw Niamh Charles possibly fouled by Williams.

In her post-match comments, Hayes highlighted the lack of VAR and shared a conversation with Niamh Charles, who was bewildered at the decision not to award a penalty. Hayes said, "Niamh [Charles] said to me, 'how could they not think it was a penalty'," and added, "I just can't see how they don't give those penalties.", reports the Mirror.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has reiterated her call for consistent use of technology in football, expressing frustration over the inconsistent application of VAR: "I've said it thousands of times, we have to have technology in the game. We had VAR [video assistant referees] for the [League Cup] final, not here and then it is in another final in the FA Cup."

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"It has to be all in or all out. If we didn't have VAR in the Conti (League] Cup final we would've won."

Despite Chelsea's dominance in possession and chances, with 70% of the ball, 26 shots, and nine corners, they failed to break down a resolute Manchester United defence and the exceptional form of goalkeeper Mary Earps. United capitalised on their opportunities, scoring early through Lucia Garcia after a mix-up in Chelsea's defence and doubling their lead with Rachel Williams' header from an Ella Toone cross.

The defeat adds to Chelsea's woes following their recent League Cup final loss, dashing any dreams of a historic quadruple or a second treble under Hayes, who reflected on the match with a level-headed perspective: "No-one died, we lost a football match," she said. Hayes, who has claimed 15 trophies during her tenure at Chelsea, pinpointed the early concessions as critical mistakes: "The frustration lies with us in the way we conceded the goals. It was a game we dominated, but you cannot gift two goals so early against top-level opponents. As a team we have to be better and we gave ourselves too much to do."

Chelsea are still vying for the WSL title and the elusive Champions League trophy, which has yet to be added to manager Emma Hayes' impressive collection of silverware at Chelsea.

"We have to get on with it, we've got a lot of games to go," said Hayes. "As always I'm reflective on what I need to do. Everyone is competitive so of course they will be disappointed."