VAR IS RUINING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

VAR

VAR is ruining the game for me. It’s as simple as that. I could end my column right there.

I was led to believe that VAR would cut out the post-match disputes and arguments with regards what the ref had got wrong. That hasn’t been the case. Instead of debating what the ref got wrong, we now debate what VAR got wrong.

Ironically, I enjoyed the use of VAR at the World Cup. It offered a bit of extra excitement when the ref ran to the pitch side monitor. Yes some things were missed and yes some mistakes appeared to be made, but it was a better system to what we’re currently seeing in the English Premier League.

For me, what has always made football so interesting and consuming was the post-match disagreements with other football fans, either fans of your own team or the opposition. Being “robbed” was part of the game. Wanting to correct that and seek revenge the next time you faced the team that had got away with it was part and parcel of the game. Maybe that still exists to a point if the VAR seems to have got something wrong, but having a goal ruled out for being a millimetre offside is pathetic. There’s absolutely nothing worse than watching a goalscorer celebrating his goal only to see him and the fans that took part in those few moments of celebration sit there puzzled while a VAR check is being made. All that emotion put on hold and often stolen. It’s dreadful.

Communication within the stadiums is also a problem. To try and be won over by the use of VAR, every supporter in the stadium must have access to the video footage of any calls in real time to make their own decision but how the hell do they do that?

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Liverpool’s James Milner recently spoke out about his dislike of the technology. He said: “It might just be the old school part of me but I think there’s still too much debate around VAR.

“Goal-line technology is incredible. Instant decision. Black and white. But it’s very hard to use VAR when you’ve still got opinions on the decisions and the atmosphere is being ruined.

“You score, there’s an explosion of noise and then it’s VAR. You wait. Is it a goal?

“I think there’s use for it – if we can improve it. But football is a game of human error on the field and in officiating as well. They have a very tough job and I’m all for making their lives easier – but not at the expense of the flow of the game.

“If the VAR took away controversy I’d back it 100%. But we’re still having discussions about VAR. I don’t think many footballers feel differently.”

Can you really disagree with that? I couldn’t agree with him more.

VAR may work in other sports but it’s ruining the beautiful game for me. Significant changes need to be made or better still, it needs to be axed once and for all. Sadly, I don’t think that’ll happen so I’m praying that they can come up with a solution that will help this miserable, old school football fan to finally embrace it.

Duncan Oldham