VAR Is A Joke. Celtic And Aberdeen Have Paid A Huge Price For This Technological Disaster.

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Last night I watched two games involving Scottish clubs.

One was absolutely dire and the other was exciting and seemed likely to end in a win for the Good Guys. (A win for the Good Guys in the other clash wouldn’t have helped our co-efficient one bit.) The Aberdeen game was every bit as thrilling as the first one was deadening stuff between two poor sides.

Aberdeen, of course, had a 2-0 lead and have lost the match due to a last-minute penalty. They paid a high price for VAR’s calamitous impact on our sport.

It flags up so many incidents which shouldn’t mean a damned thing. And it ignores, like a match official officiating a certain club from this city, so many of the incidents it was tasked with putting right.

Last night, VAR was used to justify the penalty award against Aberdeen. Which means that without it there would have been no last-minute winner.

Without it, Aberdeen wouldn’t have gotten the penalty that might have given them a 3-1 lead … but then VAR didn’t highlight the incident anyway although it was a stonewall call. For the official on the pitch to miss it is bad enough. For two others in the VAR room not to see the clear foul … that’s diabolical.

That is precisely the sort of decision which should be simple with the benefit of the instant replay. I cannot believe that they didn’t get it, and the officials are going to have to offer some sort of explanation for why that was the case. It’s a bad a decision as I’ve seen outside of Scottish football itself, with its inexplicable “honest mistakes.”

Against Lazio we saw a goal scored which would have stood but for VAR calling attention to Daizen Maeda’s toe. I still think it’s ludicrous to chop it off, the ball was clearly going to reach Palma and one point is turned into three.

Instead, that’s disallowed and we’ve ended up conceding at the other end. There’s no guarantee we’d have gotten the win but let’s face it, we’d have had something to hold onto and there would have been fewer nerves in the side.

The Lazio decision is the right one.

But without VAR there’s no discussion because that’s a goal. VAR was brought in for this explicit purpose after all. We all know though that there are decisions every week in our league which should be given that second look and which aren’t … that’s why the media has a melt-down whenever one actually does go our way.

The question arises; is VAR a net benefit?

And it’s getting increasingly hard to make that case.

It’s getting increasingly difficult to justify the delays and the doubts and the madness of scrutinising every goal for some obscure possible infringement, and to defend some of the decisions which are made in connection to it.

Even the uses which are supposedly not in any way subjective – offsides in particular – are still often shrouded in controversy just because the cameras aren’t in the right place. I mean what the Hell is that?

And before fans of a certain club start gibbering about a certain decision we got; we’d have gotten something from that game anyway because Rodgers is a tactical master and your lot just aren’t very good.

That’s the hard truth of it.

We’re a better side and the league table bears it out, and our team’s performances bear it out and the transfer value of our squad bears it out and the man in the dugout bears it out … and it doesn’t matter who sits in yours.

You know what else?

I’d have taken three points against Lazio over three against that ragbag outfit across town. That would have been a bigger scalp and a more important result by far. So, if the price of losing VAR would have been that goal, knowing what we know, I’d have taken that swap in two seconds flat and I wouldn’t even hesitate.

VAR was supposed to make our game better.

By any measurable standard it has made matters worse.

I don’t think that’s even in the slightest doubt any longer.

The level of fury at it is rising across football, and especially here and in England, relatively new to adopt it and where most fans and not a few managers are finding it nearly impossible to see what good it is doing.

It’s easy enough to talk the nonsense that Ian Maxwell has been for the whole of its first year about teething problems and how they will be resolved in good time; the guys officiating that game at Pittodrie were from Austria, who introduced VAR in 2021-22. So, they’ve been using it for more than two years there and those officials had a shocker last night.

This isn’t going to get better. It’s going to get worse.

Our own appointments in the VAR room are already bad enough to make me seriously concerned that the agenda has been set for us here.

It’s not even the possibility of bias – although that’s a serious concern, of course – but the certainty of further baffling and even shocking decisions as we either watch utter incompetents or bent officials in Scotland and those are the only two possibilities.

Frankly, I see no case for continuing with this farce.

It’s expensive and is leeching the credibility of the game here.

As far as I can see it’s doing no good whatsoever. It’s like having a shiny thing for the sake of having it, and the growing number of high profile cases where the decisions have been farcical and even contradictory to the intent makes the case for binning it stronger than retaining it and hoping that it will one day do some good.

I no longer have any faith that it will.

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  • Martin says:

    Overall I agree but on the Palma goal vs Lazio I can’t. Without VAR the linesman flags when Kyogo (offside) collides with a defender. He’s then interfering with an opponent. So although the Maeda call wouldn’t have been made by human eye in real time, Kyogo’s offside offence would have been spotted. We don’t see these things because the procedure when VAR is involved changes, as does the confodence/willingness to take the decision of the AR. Without VAR I’m 99% certain AR2 flags Kyogo offside interfering with an opponent. With VAR the flag stays down so he doesn’t looks as bad if he’s wrong. I’m tired of repeating myself about this too, everyone focuses too much on the Maeda “touch” and misses the clear offside offence by Kyogo. That goal shouldn’t have stood and without VAR I’m still sure it wouldn’t have stood.

    One of the many issues with VAR is that people are using it to hoover up their errors so are making fewer decisions.

    Aberdeen did a Celtic in Europe. The penalty decisions were a disgrace, but you should never lose a game from a 2 nil lead.

    • Paddy says:

      VAR’s here to stay and thank God for that. No doubt errors are made but any suggestion of going back to Officials not having technology to assist is for the birds.

  • Roonsa says:

    VAR is only as trustworthy as the people who implement it.

    In Scotland, making a case for VAR to level-up the officiating in this country is like making a case for voting Tory to level-up the disparity that exists in the UK between the haves and have nots.

    Still we win. Hun pricks. And the Tories will be gone soon too. Good. Pricks.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    It should have changed the game eternally in a positive way…

    That it hasn’t in Scotland is no surprise whatsoever at all of course –

    That it hasn’t in Europe though is a real surprise to me…

    It’s not any better in England apart from it’s not geared towards one peculiar club as I have a favourite English club (an unfashionable one) and while they’ve been victims of var, so have plenty of the ‘big boys’ in The Championship as well…

    Jeez – Police find justice for victims ranging from a petty supermarket theft to murder through monitors yet these continent wide officials cannot apply simple laws of the game with countless chances…

    In Scotland it’s undoubtedly corruption – In England it’s probably incompetence – In Europe it’s probably a combination of both…

    I honestly don’t know how they can sleep at night… But my goodness they very much will !

    • John says:

      Clachnacuddin, the refs in England are totally garbage. Big teams always get the big decisions.

      When Dermot I hate Celtic Gallagher comes on Sky, he just makes it up.

      Ref standards are poor, VAR is totally not used correctly either.

      Always said refs make the call and teams are allowed 3 calls per half.

  • William Melvin says:

    I share your frustration, James.
    However, the problem, as you have highlighted is not with the technology, it’s with the imbeciles of whichever nationality they hold who operate the machinery.
    We,in Scotland, have the added problem of bent officials and bent officers of the national governing bodies to contend with.
    Like it or not,it’s here to stay until FIFA/EUFA can come up with a less contentious way in which to check for any infringements.
    On another note, l checked out your reference to the movie “The Tailor Of Panama”.
    A very enjoyable film,so thank you for the heads up.
    I generally tend to go for the German speaking films and if you are, as it sounds,a bit of a film buff,perhaps you should delve into this particular genre as there are some great hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

  • Tam says:

    VAR could be a good thing…. only if the people administering it are NOT referees,former referees, or chums of the referee… and “tell” the referee to look at the monitor…. because they have seen an offense being committed according to the “rule book” that the referee could NOT have seen …as for an offside it should take seconds in most cases…draw the line based on the goal line or eighteen yard line
    When the ball is played..end of…on or off …(except Jota he was deemed offside when he received the ball) . We have a rule on gambling “world wide” if you are connected to a club… players staff should not gamble. I think the rule was made to make sure that games could not be influenced..up step Scottish referee Nick Walsh could he be deemed to be in a position to influence a game… only in this country he’s NOT….. would he be able to work for any other club and be allowed to referee….NO

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Somethin else about last night. Seein they were all over the flags at Celtic Park, ah don’t see the media (who were’nt slow tae criticize the GB yesterday) sayin anythin today, about the ibrox support singin loud and clear, sectarian songs aimed at the pope durin their game. The double standards of this media are a complete and utter disgrace. Nae wonder ye get angry. Anti – catholic bile as usual, cannae be important enough tae get a mention wi them. Thought ahd mention it.

  • john mc guire says:

    have all the clubs bought and paid for this ,,, then if they have can they not turn round to the powers that be and show them evidence how its not working and give them notice that it will no longer be switched on and used ,, everybody can see its not working time to get it out of football .

    • Magua says:

      Agree, John. In the SPFL, Celtic are the main contributors to the farce that is VAR. We are, of course, the club most likely to be punished by dodgy decisions from dodgy officials.

      Hail Hail.

  • John S says:

    VAR on its own is a tool, a technical capability. It’s the appointment of dubious officials that needs correction i.e. those responsible for making these appointments.

  • Martin.H says:

    Our club should take the lead and refuse to contribute.

  • SSMPM says:

    I saw your article a couple of hours ago and wanted to immediately agree but thought I’d wait, read a few views from the comments and reflect a bit, so in effect I VARed myself and decided my original decision was wrong. Painful, who do I think I am?
    My reasoning is mostly influenced by history and the fact that I’m very wary of returning to unaccountable unreviewed decisions made by refs, particularly in Scotland.
    Refs have to jump to immediate decisions and aye get quite a few wrong. VAR is supposed to be that reflection, a self critical ref reflection and sometimes rightly they have to say that’s the wrong decision. Decisions should have validity, a favourite word of mine.
    I listened very carefully to Charlie Mulgrew giving his view on our cup game non pen v Killie and also the foul in the Glasgow derby that led to cancelling their non goal, that Robertson agreed should be chopped off. Still can’t believe he done that. In my view Charlie interpreted both correctly, explained clearly why, as a defender of course, even if one was painful to us and one reduced McCann to accepting the decision was right but the rule is wrong.
    Haha McCann even went on to say players know what’s right and what’s not and perhaps they should be listened to with the rule making and how they should be interpreted. I mean really. The same players that cheat in every way possible to get their team a favourable decision and the bias way he interprets stuff on telly for his club of choice.
    McCann showed right there what a righteous arrogant arse he is. Pay your taxes like everyone else you lying cheating swine.
    McCann had his chance to show management skills and decision making and we don’t need VAR to validate how that went. That the bigoted BBC have him on as a lead pundit speaks volumes to the level of institutional corruption in Scotland, with their what at atmosphere there is in ibrox tonight sectarian justification nonsense.
    VAR I believe is a good tool but definitely needs improving on a technological front. Its use and those tools using it is the issue as rightly stated by some of the above comments. The inconsistent use seems to be a big issue and of course interpretation of the rules. Offsides should always be checked. Anything in the box, foul play leading to pens or non pen decisions, goals and the lead ups should be checked too. Fouls that potentially are serious foul play also, to upgrade or down grade the ref’s decision.
    That should cover most of it and refs should be the ones to make the final decision, maybe not offsides as is the currently situation though given what happened with Liverpool, maybe the ref does need to check it. Refs should be accountable so probably VAR would help that assessment of their performance too something that needs to be introduced and improved. I call my 1st witness Willie Gollum to scared now to make a decision that goes against the midden club in case they turn on him again.
    A few further thoughts; is that refs could have bigger watches to view replays whilst still on the pitch, though some of them as we already know, may already need glasses.

  • Olly says:

    Not sure if anyone watched Argentina england rugby but worth watching just to watch the referee. All over everything, can hear what he’s saying, football needs to learn from him and rugby. VAR should work as it does in rugby but why does it not. Even if you can be arsed with the hole match last ten is enough.

  • Bhoy4life says:

    Anyone looked into the length of time VAR decisions take when it comes to us and Sevco?
    Don’t know bout anybody else, but it always seems as though they are pouring over the footage to find a reason to chop when its us, and the delays for others dont seem anywhere near as long?

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