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Former QPR boss Holloway clarifies controversial remarks equating Brexit with football

The Sky pundit has come under fire for comments about Gabriel Jesus’ last-minute disallowed goal in the 2-2 draw with Spurs.

 Ian Holloway (file pic).
Ian Holloway (file pic).
Image: Steve Bardens

Updated at 15.41

IAN HOLLOWAY HAS clarified controversial remarks in which he originally appeared to suggest that the European Union is to blame for the controversial new handball rule in the Premier League.

The former Crystal Palace and Blackpool manager faced an online backlash after comments in relation to Gabriel Jesus’ last-minute disallowed goal in the 2-2 draw with Spurs last weekend.

The Brazilian striker thought he had scored the winner in the dying minutes of Saturday’s match at the Etihad, only for VAR to rule out the goal after team-mate Aymeric Laporte was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up.

“For me it doesn’t make sense, the handball rule,’ Holloway initially said on Sky Sports’ The Debate. 

If it’s not handball for both, how can you assess that?

“And to be fair, is that clear and obvious? They forgot the most important thing of all.

“Their job is to not re-referee the game but to be clear and obvious, so I don’t think that’s our boys making up that new change of law.

“I think that’s people telling us what we need to do with our game, now they should stop doing that.”

With Britain set to leave the European Union in late October, the former QPR manager seemingly suggested the decision would have a positive impact on the English Premier League.

I hope we get out, Brexit, because that’s what people are voting for and sort that out because you cannot have someone telling us how to do our own game.”

However, Holloway has since clarified his remarks. Speaking to the Mirror, he said: “Brexit is nothing to do with the football rules, is it? I’m not that stupid.”

Holloway added that he was simply drawing a parallel between the EU and Uefa, and their influence over Britain in the respective political and footballing spheres.  

“People don’t listen,” Holloway said. “What I’ve said, and I can say it very clearly, is I’m sick and fed up of being told what to do by people who aren’t running our country.

“Fifa and Uefa have brought these rules in, they told us we’ve got to use VAR that I’ve got no problem with, but that handball rule that they’ve made up, I don’t want to listen to them. That’s nonsensical.

“It’s just in the same way that I’m sick and fed up of us in the UK being told what to do by the EU.

“What I’m saying is, as an English person, I’m sick and fed up of being told what we’ve got to do. Our country is fantastic. If you let us make our own rules up, do what we want to do, we’ll be in control of it a lot better.

As for Brexit, that’s totally different. All I’m saying is I’m sick and fed up of our Prime Minister and other parties arguing over something we all voted for and we all want them to produce for us, whether it’s a no deal or not. That’s what I’m sick and fed up with.

“Let’s get out and stop the EU dictating to us what we can do. I feel exactly the same with Uefa and Fifa over our football — I think the English FA should have more power and we should believe in ourselves, and I believe the EFL should have more power rather than the Premier League telling them what to do.”

“I don’t like Uefa and I don’t like Fifa telling us what we should do in our English football game. We should take control of our own game, then that wouldn’t have happened.

“We should give the referee an earpiece, so he can explain to the crowd what’s happened with VAR, and we should get rid of that handball rule when you’re checking for goals. It’s unfair and it doesn’t sit well in football.”

The controversial International FA Board rules now mean that a goal can be disallowed if a player handles the ball resulting in an assist, regardless of whether or not there was any intention to do so.

The rules have been met by huge criticism from fans throughout the league, with VAR also under heavy scrutiny.

Originally published at 12.14

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