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.