Today’s article is supplied by the NLP
For years the debate around technology raged. Should football have it? Should it not? Will it help? Will it take away the spontaneity and disrupt the flow of the game?
The answers still aren’t all that clear. In last year’s Russian World Cup there were some decisions where its use made absolute sense. There were others times that left everyone scratching their heads.
Essentially it is used in four scenarios. Goals and whether there was a violation in the build-up like an offside or foul.
The next is for penalty decisions – general fouls aren’t reviewable unless it is a direct red card.
And the final option is for cases of mistaken identity when yellow or red cards are issued.
The system is something everyone is clearly getting used to – referees, players and fans. That is a big part of the problem.
Having held off for so long, it’s like to football powers were so desperate to use it that the process has been completely rushed.
Supporters inside the stadium and at home watching on TV don’t fully know what is happening.
In cricket and rugby, we at least hear the conversation between the officials. In American Football, decisions are literally announced to the crowd.
But football too often treats its fans – customers – like a school child with a box of matches. The lack of transparency that masks many areas of the game is the same here. Eventually showing a replay doesn’t really cut it.
Clips should be shown inside stadiums and we should hear the officials arrive at their verdict. Instead fans in the ground wait for a man with his finger in his ear to make an arm signal.
VAR is not something Non-League clubs are going to be worrying about any time soon, if ever.
Apart from when it comes to the FA Cup. The system was introduced during last year’s competition.
Let’s be clear. If correct decisions are being reached because of it, then all well and good.
But surely there has to be a level playing field. The fact is, not all grounds have it.
Take the other weekend, for example. Championship side Sheffield Wednesday were awarded a penalty at Chelsea. VAR was in operation, the decision was looked at and the Chelsea defender clearly won the ball. Penalty overturned and on we go – although Wednesday would have felt they should instead have been awarded a corner rather than the drop ball that restarted the game.
Last Monday night, Barnet had Brentford on the ropes. Having fallen behind, Darren Currie’s side swung the tie back their way with two quick goals from Shaq Coulthirst.
But just seven minutes later, Brentford were thrown a lifeline. Referee Andy Madley adjudged David Tutonda to have fouled Ollie Watkins in the box. Replays clearly show there was no contact. It’s not even up for debate. Watkins, probably expecting contact, went down untouched. He’s since apologised.
Despite the game being shown live on BT Sport and replays within seconds showing a clear angle, there was nothing that could be done because VAR was having the night off.
Brentford scored, went on to take the lead before Dan Sparkes’ wonderful free-kick made it 3-3 and booked a replay.
It’s all Sliding Doors, but who’s to say if VAR had been deployed that Barnet wouldn’t have gone on to win the game 2-1 and proceed to the fifth round, banking £180,000 while they’re at it?
There has to be parity across the competition to keeps its integrity. VAR should only come into operation from a certain stage, say, the quarter-finals. Where it is likely most clubs will be in the Premier League and able to cope with what is needed or arrangements can be made.
It can’t be one set of rules for the fortunate big boys and another for the so-called minnows.