My position on VAR still stands...rigidly. It's a great idea and in an era of technology like we have today, there's no excuse not to use it.
However I feel the arguments against VAR is too centred on the technology itself when in actual fact it should be directed at the very individuals who are operating it. From what I saw, VAR at the 2018 World Cup in Russia was an immense success. Swift, clear and remarkably consistent for it's first run out in a major tournament. And when I watch European matches midweek, I see a similar standard to the extent that I often forget it's in use in the Champions and Europa Leagues.
But, predictably, it's been something of a shambles in England. Why? English referees. Simple as.
Not quite. If they apply the laws as set out, they are told to use common sense. If they don't apply them, they're called various forms of useless.
There were numerous disputed calls during the WC, usually but not solely to do with handball incidents. But it was the cleanest WC in decades, with no diving allowed, shirt pulling spotted, and wild tackles punished. The current complaint is that too many penalties are given, and offside is ridiculous. They're given because they're supposed to be given. Handball does not have to be deliberate to be a penalty these days. Last weekend, Gomez was 8 yards from the ball when it was struck. If it was the other way around, we would all be demanding a penalty for it. Therefore I can't really argue that the decision that resulted from it was wrong. Offside is not ridiculous, offside is offside. Of course it looks harsh when lines are drawn to players elbows and backsides, but the rule is the rule, and it is enforced on a zero tolerance basis.
Unfortunately there is no VAR in the group stage of the UEFA Cup. I say unfortunately as it confirms it's current status as a second rate competition, where cheating is allowed and wrong decisions are widespread.
He’s gonna read that and do a dastardly snigger to himself that he’s got a known persona on the forum.
A what? The only time I could snigger was when Platini was caught, knowing that the stubborn resistance to technology in our sport disappeared with him. The new FIFA President was not going to waste any more time in getting video technology into football and 2 years later, VAR was at the WC.
Back at the Euros in 2012, John Terry was able to go over the goaline and clear the ball away, eliminating the hosts and keeping Hodgson there a bit longer. Collina turned up the next day to try and defend the indefensible, defiantly explaining why there was no technology in the game. Now there is and he reminds us of the benefits of it at every opportunity.
Watch the Nations League this week sans VAR, and see all the penalties/goals given that shouldn't and vice versa, deciding who gets promoted and relegated, WC playoff spots and have another turn in 2 years time. If people do that, then they'll be grateful we have VAR in our league.