Celtic Fans Have Just Watched Officials Being Held To Account. Just Not In Scotland.

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Last night, the EPL was convulsed by a major VAR scandal.

Anyone who saw the game between Manchester Utd and Wolves cannot be in the least doubt that a scandal is exactly what it was.

Late in the game, the Utd keeper committed a foul coming for a ball which is as blatant and as obvious as any you will ever see. The VAR officials, with the benefit of time to study it and multiple chances to view it from various perspectives, refused to give the penalty.

It was not just inexplicable; it was absolutely outrageous.

The Wolves manager was clearly furious.

He was actually booked for expressing his disgust at it.

But in the aftermath of the game Howard Webb, the man in charge of officiating south of the border, contacted his club to offer an apology for the incident and for not giving the penalty.

Webb, who has previously said that officials must be held accountable for the decisions that they make, then made good on that.

Neither VAR official will be selected for the weekend.

This is how it should work, everywhere.

In England, with all the money at stake in that league, they are committed to full transparency.

VAR audio will soon be made available to the media and through them to the fans.

This is how you run things when you’ve got nothing to hide. It’s what Louis Brandies, the former associate justice of the Supreme Court, meant when he famously said that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

The idea of sunlight scared the bejesus out of people here for some reason.

It’s crystal clear that it does because whilst clubs can lose fortunes from bad decisions and managers can lose their jobs, the officials who make them aren’t accountable for any of it and if you dare question them from within the game you face sanctions whilst questioning it from the outside has you branded some kind of conspiracy theorist or lunatic.

But this is how things get better.

This is how you push standards up.

When people know they have to be on their game, and at their best, they will perform. When they are coddled, and protected, and excuses are made on their behalf and you aren’t allowed to even suggest that some of them aren’t on the level you virtually assure poor performances and even let corruption creep into the sport.

I cannot believe that is not a priority here.

And yet it’s not.

Once again, Celtic fans and others who care about these issues have been given a glimpse of what we could have here in Scotland, of the kind of system that works elsewhere, and we are denied that to us for reasons no-one will explain.

English football is not perfect.

But it has a regulator now. It has fans involved in decision making. It listens to all of its stakeholders and it tries to learn from its mistakes. In short, those who run the game there aren’t going to get everything right but they want to be better, they want to improve, and that’s more than those running things here can possibly claim.

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  • Pan says:

    It is not part of the action here as integrity is a bad word in Scotland.

  • Jimmy R says:

    The audio provision to the public can be the game changer. When you watch (& listen to) the TMO in a rugby game, you can hear the officiating team talk through the process to reach their decision.
    It helps in two ways. One, fans get a better understanding on how the laws of the game are interpreted and two, fans can focus in on whatever the officials are checking, knowing what they are looking for. It is an open and transparent process which (mostly) removes the mystery surrounding the decision process. Football is in the dark ages in comparison. What have they got to hide?
    Ah! That explains why football is reluctant to go down that route.

  • Tony B says:

    In Scotland it would have been put down to just another anomaly.

    Nothing to see here. Move along now. All of our brethren are hand picked and above reproach.

  • John says:

    There is a huge difference in a ref in England making an honest mistake and those in Scotland making a mistake ( most weeks to the benifit or detriment) to both teams in Scotland.
    1/ The English ref made a poor decision.
    2/ The refs in Scotland will make a wrong decision to favour the Masonic team.
    3/ Penalty to Rangers !

  • Bob (original) says:

    The Howard Webb equivalent in Scotland

    would be a 6 man SFA committte, convened 3 weeks after the game,

    and with no explanation given for any decison taken.

    If our ‘top refs’ refuse to improve – they will never officiate at another WC or Euros.

  • M says:

    Couldn’t be more right.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    VAR did it’s job just as it should at Pittodrie on Sunday ! – A reasonably tight onside call flagged by the linesman as offside but it went to VAR and good justice was served in the end…

    So it actually CAN work in Scotia –

    My gripe is – How long will such vital justice prevail…

    Gonna be a really interesting day v Sevco in The Glasgow Derby to see if VAR will overrule an inevitable incorrect linesman on the day – and rule in Celtic’s favour – but only if it’s a correct and fair ruling of course !

  • Tommy B says:

    The officials at the centre of the penalty controversy during Manchester United vs Wolves have been dropped from next weekend’s fixtures. Referee Simon Hooper, video assistant ref Michael Sailsbury and assistant VAR Richard West have been omitted following their decision not to award Wolves a late penalty.

    Thanks James for highlighting this incident , I watched the game and couldn’t believe that the referee didn’t have a look at a replay.
    Well done to Howard Webb for dealing with it so quickly.
    I wonder if we will ever see this type of incident dealt with in Scotland ?

    Tommy B

  • Tony Hand says:

    At the end of the day were Wolves awarded a share of the points? Not on your life …….. the establishment team won out again.

  • MartinKennea says:

    Howard Webb done well acting so quickly and decisively , but ,,, it was such a blatant ‘ miscall ‘ I dont think the two culprits should be used again .

  • Peterbrady says:

    If it was wolves keeper on united forward he would have choked on his whistle to give it

  • Peterbrady says:

    The EPL is a false fake league build on quicksand with fake clubs the so called big six and the other fake clubswantobes it will fold eventually the sooner the better

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