Barring conversations relating to the transfer market (and of course gloating Liverpool fans), there’s a lot of talk and apprehension about the upcoming season’s inclusion of VAR.
I’m not a proponent of the system, its faults and the secret rooms of nerds who control it.
For me there are still doubts concerning reliability and ruling, as well as the holding up of games, the continued “passages of play” and the keeping of the audience in the dark as VAR moments are underway.
Another obvious fault is the one angle camera on each sideline when it comes to offside decisions.
We’ve seen pics over and over again taken by fans in stands (level with attacker/defender in question) which clearly show the VAR decision was wrong.
VAR needs multi-camera points to make definitive decisions.
Mike Riley, the head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMO) has been trying to stop negative debate by chucking a few facts and figures to the media in an attempt to appease the sceptics.
He’s confident the system’s introduction will not significantly disrupt the “pace and tempo” of matches.
He is also certain it will vastly improve the accuracy of “factual” calls, specifically regarding offsides.
Interestingly, results from the first 33 Premier League games this season, (which were used as non-VAR active tests) showed that on average there would have been eight checks per game, with the average time of each check clocking in at 29 seconds. Dunno about you, but for me that sounds like a lot?
And despite the relatively short time given on each, the issue for me is more about the stop-start effect it’ll have.
Countering that argument, the PGMO wants VARs to make calls on decisions they feel need to be overturned or reviewed, as opposed to asking the on-pitch official to check the incidents on the screen in the referee referral areas.
They’re also saying that before the start of next season all Premier League clubs will be required to put something in place at their grounds that will allow everyone in the stadium to know VAR is in play.
We’re talking LED screens, a PA announcement (which will be really weird) as well as (for the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United who don’t have big screens) an app where fans can see the clip in question immediately on their mobile devices.
For me, what is missing from their defence is how VAR is going to change our game forever.
Gone are the days of proper 50/50 challenges, niggling in the box at set-pieces, the art of defenders “holding” attackers and similar physical elements that go into making a proper contest.
Unfortunately, sooner rather than later we’re gonna morph into a game similar to that of the continent.
It will be super technical, more space, less pace, the type of football loved by plastics who follow different teams in different leagues, those who support a player or manager and go with whichever club they’re at, those who skommel over replays of Cristiano Ronaldo overhead kicks, those who wear twin-team scarves, those who don’t have football in their hearts.
You know, the further down the line we go towards total corporatisation and purging of the game we have all been brought up on and love, the more I question my natural commitment.