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These 2 VAR blunders benefited Newcastle United this week but it doesn’t make it right

10 months ago

Let me put my cards on the table, I’m 100% in favour of using video (VAR) to ensure that correct decisions are arrived at.

I don’t care how long it takes as long as the correct decision ensues.

There is nothing wrong with using advances in technology to improve the things we do – and that includes refereeing football matches. Such advances have been used extremely successfully in every walk of life and in other sports so why is it proving such a problem in football?

Two incidents in this weekend’s games have highlighted exactly what’s wrong with the way the Premier League is using VAR:

Southampton v Burnley where Woods’ shirt is almost ripped off his back when attempting to dive to head the ball in and Manure v Brighton where Maguire hauls Welbeck back as he’s just about to pull the trigger.

Both incidents IMHO were stone cold penalties and the injustice of them not being awarded is precisely what VAR was supposed to eradicate.

We are constantly fed the line by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) that VAR is only there to rule on “clear and obvious errors” (by match officials) or “serious missed incidents” and, only then, in four match-changing situations – goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity.

Both the above-mentioned incidents were reviewed by VAR.

Are the Soton v Burnley VAR team really saying that they believe that the referee would not have awarded a penalty if he had seen Woods’ jersey grabbed by the defender and stretched nearly a metre from his body? If so, then the competence of whoever made that decision needs to be called into account.

In the case of the Maguire / Welbeck incident, the VAR reviewers instructed the referee, Mike (I-don’t-have-a-top-6-bias) Dean, to look at the incident again…he still did not award a penalty.

Why then, should the makers of these decisions not have their competence scrutinised?

Why should Mike Dean and any other VAR decision makers not have to face the cameras, if requested by (say) either of the club managers involved, and talk them, the media and us all, through the various video recordings upon which they based any decision and explain to us mere mortals why we have got it so wrong.

Failure to be able to do so surely highlights their incompetence and that incompetence should have consequences. These officials can now earn six figure salaries and enjoy lavish expense accounts, so why should they not be held accountable by the very people paying their wages.

The days of “the referee’s decision is final” were, rightly, confined to the dustbin of history when VAR was introduced and the only thing required to make it work is accountability and consequences.

There will always be instances of interpretation but, with the “assistance” of video, such instances should be few and far between.

What is needed immediately is for decision makers to be called to account.

Both incidents did the Toon a bit of good as it happens!!



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