Ange sat in front of the media today and it was clear from his demeanour and the answers that he gave to the questions that when it comes to VAR he’s had about all he can stomach already.
What I found most interesting is when he dismissed the SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell’s statement, from last month, about how we should expect “teething problems.”
“Australia, which everyone seems to think is a backwater, had VAR four years ago. It’s not new. Referees in our league who referee in Europe have used it,” he said. “We made it out to be a really big thing with big expectations. Now we are saying ‘expect teething problems’. I don’t know why there would be teething problems for something that’s been around for four or five years. If they’re not ready now, don’t start, just wait till we’re ready.”
He was scathing about the suggestion that camera had been pointed in the wrong place.
“The fact that a camera is not pointing to where it should be, I’m kind of hoping they went through this process before and said ‘these are the protocols’.”
Clearly, the big guy doesn’t buy any of this. These “mistakes” are not the sort that have been seen anywhere else in the game. Other leagues have adopted VAR without all this hysteria, and the idea that a camera was not watching play is something that nobody I’ve spoken to has ever heard about happening in any other league where it’s been used.
We said at the time that Ian Maxwell sounded very much like a man who got his alibis in early, and that’s exactly what it sounds like all these weeks on when these decisions – all against us – have already become a matter of routine.
But as I’ll explore in more detail a little bit later, in their desperation to make the best of this window, the cheats and the charlatans have played their trump card too early and not very well.
These scandals have led to the kind of scrutiny our enemies could not afford, and it’s come within a month of the technology being set up. That will, ultimately, play to our long term advantage.