Fix it or lose it – VAR is ruining football

Liverpool and Tottenham produced one of the best games of the season in north London on Sunday evening, serving up an excellent 2-2 draw.

Harry Kane notched his second goal of the season before Diogo Jota equalised to go into the half-time break level. Andy Robertson then put Liverpool ahead, but the lead lasted just four minutes before an Alisson Becker error allowed Heung-Min Son to roll the ball into an empty net.

But it was the VAR decisions throughout the game that stole the headlines, and it wasn’t the only occasion this weekend that the video assistant referee rued it’s ugly head with decisions.

In the first half Harry Kane was shown a yellow card for a reckless lunge on Robertson, a clear red card after the replay was shown. It seemed as though the player’s reputation saved him on this occasion, with VAR reviewing and dismissing the challenge.

There was then a penalty appeal for Liverpool completely dismissed when Jota was blasted from behind by Emerson Royal when played through in a one-on-one situation.

According to Jurgen Klopp, referee Paul Tierney claimed that he didn’t give the penalty because Jota “stopped on purpose” to attract a foul but replays showed that was absolute nonsense.

Once again, VAR looked and did nothing about a clear incorrect decision.

Robertson himself was then sent off late on for a blatant swipe on Royal and after initially only giving a yellow card, the referee used VAR to change his mind and show red.

Earlier on Sunday there was a crazy call in the Newcastle vs Man City game too, with a clear penalty not given to the Magpies with the score at 2-0 to the league leaders.

A through ball was played and as Joao Cancelo took the ball away from Matt Ritchie, Ederson came sliding out and completely clattered Newcastle man. VAR didn’t even look at it.

That’s just a handful of decisions over the weekend, from only two games. VAR is ruining the game.

The point of it was supposed to be to help referees, but for some reason they seem to have given off this impression that they don’t want to “re-referee” games. So what’s the point of it?

If they’re not willing to correct refereeing decisions that are wrong, then there’s no use for it. The best way to use it is to get rid of this “clear and obvious ruling”, since it’s impossible to police subjective decisions in that way.

Let the referees manage the game themselves, but have VAR for everything that is either a yes or no answer. Give managers one appeal per half so that if they disagree with a decision vehemently they can appeal it and force the referee to view it on the pitchside monitor.

It gives everyone a bit of control over the situation and ultimately puts the final decision on the referee. Anything that goes wrong from there can be dealt with by the Premier League and FA.

Stop protecting referees and instead start improving them. That’s what VAR was brought in for in the first place.


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