Ian Maxwell was in the media this morning defending VAR. In fact, he wasn’t defending VAR as much as he was defending his referees. As an example of deflection is it a good one.
He wants the debate to be on “teething troubles” – he has repeated this again – instead of on the fundamental issues. He thinks time will sort this, but it won’t.
The reason many of us supported VAR in the first place is because we simply do not trust our officials to get decisions right.
But the same officials who consistently make mistakes are now sitting behind the screens where they have the opportunity to make even more of them. It’s like watching someone mess up the simple act of making a tray of sandwiches and instead of bringing in someone else you put them in charge of the whole buffet.
These people are thoroughly incompetent. Their judgement is either corrupted or otherwise impaired; either way, the results are the utter chaos we see around us.
It’s not a magical item from a fantasy story, something whose full parameters and uses have to be learned as a go … VAR is straightforward stuff, allowing officials to spot things that they might otherwise have missed.
But if you think any handball of any description in the box is a penalty you’ll act accordingly. If you have some weird conception of what a handball is and isn’t, depending on any number of other variables, including the colour of the jersey involved, then your interpretation of what you see on those screens will be altered accordingly.
The debate over “VAR” is the smokescreen to end them all. Ange Postecoglou is well aware of that and he scorned this whole narrative about “teething trouble” back at the start.
The officials aren’t being asked to take control of nuclear reactors here; competent officials would not be making some of these “mistakes” if indeed that’s what they are.
The debate is now raging over whether to dispense with VAR altogether and my view is still that clubs are leaning in the direction of refusing to pay for it and thus consigning it to the bin.
Maxwell at least is determined not to bow to that. He is urging patience, but patience isn’t going to do it. We wanted this in the first place as a solution to the problem of dire refereeing in Scotland … until that’s fixed everything else is pointless.
Maxwell doesn’t want the discussion anywhere near that subject, but that’s what we must force him and others back towards over and over and over again and Celtic should be making their own position on it clear; the problem is not with the technology.
It’s the people with their hands on the controls.