After Another VAR Shocker Celtic Is Not The Only Club Wondering Why Football Bothered.

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There are countries all over football which have had VAR for years. They were the test subjects, the guinea pigs.

How I wish they had experienced the kind of things we’ve had to endure and junked it. This needed killed in the crib. This needed to be stamped out, like a virus, before it got a chance to spread. VAR has changed football, and not for the better.

Last night, Brendan Rodgers accused VAR of “turning football into a computer game.” He’s right. The night before, Ange Postecoglou ripped VAR to shreds and was furious after the head-banging game between his Spurs side and Chelsea.

As I wrote yesterday, the Arsenal board of directors backed their manager in slamming VAR for a dire decision against Newcastle. These are all in the last couple of days. These are not, by any stretch, isolated incidents.

So why did the “early adopters” not see this for the disaster it was and end it? Teething troubles, I suppose.

They probably thought, as many currently do, that the powers-that-be had introduced something new, that it would take a bit of getting used to but that in the end, once people had a chance to learn it and adapt that it would all be fine.

Christ almighty. How could anyone be that daft? Sometimes, yes, teething problems are exactly that. And sometimes something doesn’t work because it’s just crap, it’s just not worth it, it’s something to steer well clear of. FIFA is forever coming up with weird and wonderful ways to screw football up.

Have you ever seen some of the reports out of their idea’s forums?

I am sure I read somewhere that someone had, at one time, suggested that the pitch be split into zones; say you scored in Zone One, what we call the penalty box; that was worth one goal. If you scored in Zone 2, which was between the penalty box and the 20 yard “line”, that was worth two and on and on.

Another wanted yellow cards to work the way they work in pro-hockey or one of those other games; you’d get twenty minutes in “the sin bin.” A third was that there should be a limit on the number of defenders in the penalty box. Yet one more proposed to make it illegal to pass the ball backwards outside the penalty area.

And this is what I mean; sometimes one of those ideas, like the gold and silver goals, something so daft that it probably ought to be left as a concept, sneaks through the system, something seizes the attention of those in that room, and before you know it we’re stuck with some crazy scheme which upends part of the game that we all know and love.

Sometimes the ideas from these committees do make it into the game and do good; goal line technology originated there, and so did the new rules on five substitutions. But it’s all tweaking, it’s all changing the game we grew up and which has stood the test of time.

How many more will there be?

What the Hell are these people going to inflict on us next?

As an ancillary to VAR, much of Europe also has this new rule on time added on at the end of games and that, also, is causing chaos although I actually like that change. But the more of this you see the more you realise just how much football is morphing into something new, something where the events on the pitch are no longer the big story.

People in the game are concerned.

I don’t know if VAR has a future long-term. In Scotland I think most clubs would vote it into non-existence, but we’re stuck with it in Europe because UEFA has embraced the technology and refuses to accept it’s a mess.

But this is one of those changes that never should have been, that would have been better off staying on a scrap of notepaper and being chucked in the bin. Instead, it’s making more headlines than the game.

Eventually, we have to put the brakes on here. The game seems to change every season now, whether that’s with this kind of stuff or with rule changes.

Our referees are hardly the smartest kids in the class, and they can barely grasp the regulations as they stood when they took the exams … now they’re being confronted with new versions before each campaign. I’m not making excuses for them; never. But that’s too much even for clever people.

VAR’s impact was always going to be interesting.

It has been disastrous.

There is not a week that goes by now without a negative story about it.

Something that has caused this much controversy cannot possibly have a long life, too many people are furious about it.

Celtic fans have every right to be concerned; our situation up here is a little different to elsewhere, but everyone, everywhere, is struggling with this and you know what? I don’t see any sign that it’s going to get better.

These aren’t teething issues, this is systemic. This is a problem with the concept itself and the longer it goes on the more obvious it becomes.

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  • king murdy says:

    “Celtic fans have every right to be concerned; our situation up here is a little different to elsewhere” do you not mean james, we are more paranoid than other fans ? ffs !!
    it’s like when a match is played in shit conditions…icy / rain soaked pitches…high winds..etc…a team loses, and the coach says “conditions didn’t suit us”….ffs…it’s the same for both teams…
    you can blame var…dirty spanish bastards…a ref with a grudge against us…the famine…the idf….the ball was too round….whatever…
    when it comes down to it, we have a shite team(at this level) with an unambitious, penny pinching board and an unambitious coach – because if BR was ambitious…he wouldn’t have returned to this club…
    FAIL FAIL !!

  • Bob (original) says:

    The perennial problem with new technology is the human interface.

    VAR technology does work – it’s the inconsistent, confusing interpretation

    and application of VAR by match officials which needs removing, if possible?

    Maybe A.I. could eventuallby provide a solution – sometime – in the future?

    It might not be perfect, but should at least ensure that any ‘mistakes’ are consistent?

  • Jimmy says:

    On the subject of Var. It is a mess everywhere. Look at Liverpool or Arsenal at the weekend, terrible decisions given against them which could have enormous consequences for them at season end. Celta vigo suffered in Spain. Take a minute to read about it in Germany, its that much of a shambles the majority of the players and fans want it binned. In over 50 years following Celtic I have enjoyed huge celebrations at goals at numerous grounds. Enormous highs in Europe and at home that will last with me forever. It is not the same now with every goal having an element of doubt about it. I find myself waiting just to see if it stands. It is spoiling the fun and it’s doing my head in.
    On the subject of our team, I am still gutted like everyone else. The board have to be asked about their ambition going forward. Project players are not the answer. Rodgers needs the players in and if he doesn’t get them he could be off again, and who could blame him.
    We as fans have have a role to play in not accepting mediocrity. Not singling anyone out but Liam Scales was nowhere near the team last year, through injuries to project players he was thrown in. A decent game against rangers and a decent run against St Johnstone and others he seems to be a starter now, sorry but this was the same guy that couldn’t get near our team last year. Same with David Turnbull, He has had a couple of good games recently and the opinion is from some fans all of a sudden is what a player, get him signed. If we do I hope it is as a squad player. Only my humble opinion but Scales, Taylor Turnbull are like Tony Ralston, squad players at best. We need much better if we are going to go forward. The money for the champions league next year is rising dramatically. With that in mind it is the job of the board to supply the manager the funds he wants, firstly to win the league then have a go at Champions league next. Improving our team would also allow us to put the rangers back in their box for years to come.

  • SSMPM says:

    VAR needs improving with better and more accurate camera coverage as not all angles are covered effectively and as such are limited particularly in this country’s cheap version but I don’t agree with your sentiment that we were better off without it. Perhaps I have more sympathy with the view about EUFA rule changes and rule wording that tries to increasingly cover all scenarios.
    Also stoppage time or time added on I think is a good thing and possibly should even be increased more in line with that evidenced by and in the World Cup.
    Stoppage time is just that, not injury time or just time to cover substitutions. It’s stoppage time supposed to cover all stoppages. If that subsequently adds 10 or 15 minutes to the end of a game that’s fine by me.
    VAR operators deficiencies is the biggest issue and that includes the corrupt refs. If VAR is utilised properly it can highlight exactly those dodgy operators and lack of camera angle coverage if scrutinised effectively by TV companies for example, another issue of concern in Scotland given their team of choice.
    Oh did have his arm all over White and Maeda was probably just offside prior to the cross for Oh’s cancelled out goal. In the Killie cup game as Charlie Mulgrew stated clearly from a defender’s viewpoint Haksa did play for a foul and didn’t get the penalty for that reason. The fact that Kent used to do this but get penalties is another issue.
    That doesn’t though excuse the failure of the VAR operators not seeing the shirt pulls on CCV and OH as they managed to see in the rankers/jam farts game two weeks ago. There is another reason for that and it lies solely at the VAR operator’s door and the SFA for allowing those operators to get away with it but there again there’s another reason for and behind that.
    Even if Brendan, who is not Celtic but their football manager, was unhappy with Maeda’s sending off last night, as I was too, does that really mean Celtic as a whole, the board whatever, are expressing the same concerns about it and VAR generally. Haven’t noticed them coming out in support like the Arsenal board have in support of their manager.
    The idea that things were better prior to VAR and that somehow less honest mistakes or corruption is being made is for the birds and nostalgic nonsense.
    As a very minimum at least, TV coverage, honest punters allowing, and the reasoning behind those decisions can be seen, highlighted better and discussed even if that’s only amongst us. It also allows a dossier of wrong or dodgy decisions to be produced should the Celtic board ever choose to do so.
    Be annoyed if you wish and it’s dishearting for us as fans, but it would be better to choose and focus your arguments on the definites. Like we were and are absolutely piss poor at getting points at this CL level and some of the reasons like lack of investment in the 1st team squad to perhaps achieve some better results, VAR needs to improve its coverage of the park, that we as a country that don’t produce enough good enough home talent as some of those others smaller clubs from say the Scandinavian leagues are behind that.
    It’s my view that the Celtic board are only willing to spend so much, believe that their current investment strategy is the correct one for a rank rotten league. Winning the domestic league, maybe a cup or two, getting into the CL group stage and developing young players for profit is the extent to which they want to invest. I don’t like it but I’m not in charge, no more than you other Celtic fans.
    I don’t blame Brendan either. He can only coach and manage players that the club will sign. You can’t make a Mercedes from Ford parts. HH

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    The game of football that I fell in love with back in 1980 is now well and truly fcuked beyond recognition…

    Corruption, no competition anywhere, Cheats with whistles, flags and monitors in Scotland –

    As for VAR – It’s a brilliant weapon against the Cheats with whistles, flags and monitors in Scotland – or it should be but absolutely isn’t given these guys simply don’t give a continental fcuk whatosever…

    One thing that’s great about VAR is that it has proved beyond all realm of doubt that –


  • Kevan McKeown says:

    VAR right now is the least of our worries. What this board should be doin, is havin a look at the likes of the DR today, just as one example, who’s journos are havin a fuckin field day. Gleefully pullin all sorts of stats, digs and snide ‘quips’ out their arse and from any other angle they can find. That should give them an idea of what our club’s become in Europe under their watch, if theyre even fkn interested. A laughin stock, even for nonentities like them. It’s fuckin shameful.

  • Johnno says:

    Football has always had a fair degree of professional cheating within it, and the authorities have hardly helped matters either.
    With the introduction of VAR with a zero policy in place, then comman sense has been totally taken away from the game, and replaced by over annualised about nearly every questionable decision awarded.
    I came from an era where such challenges as meada last night, you make with intent to hurt,and if on the receiving end, had to learn to ride the challenge or end up really hurt?
    No comman sense is applied within today’s game, where no intent was applied, yet a still image means a straight red?
    So is the game better off for such a zero policy in place?
    Certainly not, and by a long way, especially when the professional cheat, benefits so hugely?
    Offside should be simple, as if not clear by the eye upon a replay,then advantage has to start being awarded to the attacking team imo.
    If we are looking at straight reds for defenders, then the same red cards should be shown to the attacking player, when trying to con a peno, so a yellow is worthwhile taking that chance, especially with a zero policy in play?
    Interpretation upon so many issues within VAR is over complicating the whole process that it was designed for imo, and needs to be simplified by allowing comman sense to start taking preference over a zero policy that’s currently in play.
    Fail to understand how a zero policy can be in play, when a zero policy from technology isn’t.
    Get the balance right and then maybe the overall game may follow suit, and take away from the professional cheats intent on destroying a game, which the officials are currently doing so

  • Jim Duffy says:

    I think VAR should only be used like hawk eye in tennis,I would be useful for determining if a ball actually crossed over the goal line ,but for offsides fouls etc it is no use whatsoever.

  • Martin says:

    From the perspective of a referee, I agree with several of the suggestions. VAR for goals, offsides and missed events/violent conduct only. If the ref on the field sees it and deems it a yellow or no card, that’s the decision. For offside clarification when goals are scored only.

    We also need to stop showing stills of tackles. The still used for Maeda’s red hangs him, but in motion you see the foot is to the side, the studs point at the grass, not the player and after contact Maeda’s leg bounces back-indicating he hadn’t locked his leg or went in with force. That’s a hell of a mitigation in my book and takes it to reckless rather than dangerous. The initial yellow was correct and 99/100 times 22 people on the pitch and however many in the dugouts and stands are perfectly satisfied with that outcome.

    But football is by its very nature inconsistent. What may be borderline reckless will get a card in a game where you need to calm the players down, but in a nothing happening game where things are unlikely to escalate you might just have a word. VAR is trying to impose fact based technology on a fluid decision process. Which will harm the game.

    Offsides leading to goals. Ball in/out of play for goals. Missed serious foul play and episodes of violent conduct. That should be the limit of VAR intervention during matches. We would also reduce the pointless delays…

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