So officials are said to be unhappy with Andy Walker and Sky over his comments – which I highlighted yesterday – about an un-named VAR official who told a referee they should seek an “easy way out” by calling an offside in a televised game.
Walker gave the game away when he pointed out that Sky has access to the VAR feed and the audio from the people working it. Now refs are threatening to cut Sky out.
That stinks to high heaven and sums up the arrogance of our officials. These people do not want scrutiny. The lack of scrutiny is exactly what creates the environment in which standards have tanked.
Walker now simply has to name names and tell us who the officials are and what game it happened in. I suspect that I know already.
There are only a handful of games that it can be, because not every match is on Sky and VAR is only used in limited circumstances, so when you look through the matches and the incidents in them you can use a process of elimination to get to an answer.
I think it might be the Motherwell game against the Ibrox club, and the incident in question the one where there was a VAR debate over Cantwell’s goal.
And if I’m right about the match, and the incident, the VAR official’s advice was not taken.
That does not make it any less important to get to the bottom of this.
I do not want decisions made like that. I don’t want refs and VAR operators looking for “easy ways out.” It is a corruption of the game no matter who the decisions ultimately fall in favour of.
The SFA is stamping its feet. The clubs have to support Sky and Walker. In fact, the clubs should be loudly demanding answers themselves, and not allowing the governing body to make themselves out to be victims here.
As far as I’m concerned refs should be miked up. VAR footage and the process by which decisions are made should be shared with the fans wherever possible.
Why is the SFA so terrified of proper oversight? What would we find out that we don’t already know? That our officials are sub-par? Hell that’s no secret. But maybe they really do have something to hide.
They have briefed their buddies in the media that they are furious at what they see as a “breach of trust.” It’s a joke. Trust in these guys is at rock bottom. Why should there be any for an organisation which refuses to allow any criticism of these people? Trust comes from mutual respect, and they have been pissing over the concerns of clubs and fans for years.
Walker has also been accused of “misinterpreting” the remarks. Well there’s an easy way to find out if he has or not; tell us what the game was, tell us what the incident was and explain the context of those comments. Otherwise, that’s no defence whatsoever and nobody should accept it for two seconds as though it is.
I knew the second I read those comments that this was an enormous story which was not going away.
Walker might be too stupid to realise the can of worms he was opening here, but I suspect not. I think he’s smart enough to have realised what the likely impact of those comments would be and I think he wants the debate. If so he has done a great service to the game here, and we should be eternally grateful to him if it sparks a wide ranging one.
But that will only happen if others rise to the moment, and I sincerely hope that Celtic and other clubs do exactly that.
He says he “has a concern.” As an ex-player and someone whose job it is to inform these discussions he did the right thing in sharing it with us … and the SFA has reacted in petulant, self-protection mode.
It will not wash. It must not.