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.