The players of RKC Waalwijk feel robbed by video referee Bas Nijhuis in the match against Sparta Rotterdam. Due to an intervention by Nijhuis, Sparta received a penalty in the final phase, making it 1-1 in Waalwijk.
Referee Alexander Bos initially allowed play to continue when Reuven Niemeijer lightly hit Camiel Neghli during a duel for the ball. VAR Nijhuis then called Bos to the side because he thought it was a penalty. Bos then pointed to the spot, from which Joshua Kitolano made it 1-1.
RKC captain Etienne Vaessen was furious afterwards. “We’re just being screwed again. It’s not a penalty at all,” he said ESPN. “I noticed it straight away. Even the Sparta players didn’t complain. If you really hit him, someone will protest. But even that didn’t happen.”
“It’s scandalous. Now they pay attention, but last week they were sleeping on the bus. Abolish VAR. This is not a penalty. These are matches that are played hundreds of times in a match. Is Nijhuis the VAR? Then it is completely scandalous. He normally lets everything continue.”
Vaessen was then shocked by his own words. “I’m going to hold back now, otherwise I’ll soon be in trouble again. But these are very important points for us in the fight against relegation. I’m really sick of it.”
Niemeijer: ‘I barely hit him’
RKC coach Henk Fraser refused to say anything on camera about Bos and Nijhuis’ performance. Niemeijer, who caused the penalty, did so. He couldn’t understand that the referee was pointing to the spot.
“I hardly feel like I hit him. He is taken to the side and he gives it. Was Nijhuis the VAR? Then that is striking. I didn’t think it was a penalty. This is annoying. The only positive thing is that we have a point caught.”
With a victory over Sparta Rotterdam, number sixteen RKC could have done good business in the fight against relegation from the Eredivisie. In that case, Fraser’s team could have distanced themselves from tail teams FC Volendam and Vitesse.
Now RKC is four points behind the safe fifteenth place, which is held by Heracles Almelo. At the end of the season, numbers seventeen and eighteen are relegated directly from the Eredivisie. The number sixteen plays play-offs for enforcement.
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