Does VAR work? by Jon Fox
Gooners who read my regular posts will already know that I have been firmly against the way VAR has ruined and continues to ruin the spirit and fan enjoyment of our world game.
There are a number of very valid reasons for my belief, and I now examine them all and wish to lay out all the negatives I constantly see and also examine the lesser case FOR VAR, as some will try to argue for it.
I always appreciate balance in JA articles and often say so publicly, so it would be remiss not to at least attempt some balance of my own in this piece.
Before going further, I need to make it clear that I obviously want the correct ref decisions made and loathe howlers, as we all surely do.
VAR was brought in to simply eradicate howlers, but it has far outreached that modest aim and has sunk its greedy and unwanted tentacles deep into the flesh of our beautiful game and is steadily devouring it from the inside and leaving a stale, frustrated and outraged sense of sheer helplessness from the fans.
And we fans ARE the lifeblood of the game. It will not survive without us, but that seems to have been completely overlooked. Quelle Surprise! NOT!!!
Just as our wishes in so much else about the game we own and keep alive are also ignored as being the bleatings of little people with no individual financial power and therefore of little value to the tyrants who misrun our sport.
Fellow Gooners, I do not, never have and never will accept being bullied by financially rich corporates and organisations that arrogantly think they own the game and give no thought at all to what we fans want. I believe in fighting my corner and giving those who try to bully those like us who love our beautiful game, a metaphorically bloody nose (sadly not possible physically!).
Far be it from me to ever big up that ghastly self-publicist Piers Morgan, but he too has said the whole damned concept of VAR is not fit for purpose and should not have been brought in. And on that, almost uniquely, in his case, I agree with him!
My friends, we would surely agree that the spirit of the game is important to protect. Some of you may not, but I sincerely believe most of us firmly do wish to protect this spirit. How in God’s name can anyone protect the spirit of our game when a goal can be ruled out on a subjective call, repeat a SUBJECTIVE call, from a second referee, who is looking and for ages too, at another screen – until after the decision has been overturned. And in 99% plus of cases, when the on-field ref is summoned, not asked by the way, but summoned, to endless second looks on the touchline screen while we poor “jerks” twiddle our thumbs and scream out in numb disbelief, the second SUBJECTIVE opinion overturns the original.
And very often, the original decision is seen to have been the correct one all along. Like this weekend just gone, with the scandalous second opinions foisted on bullied refs- Michael Oliver was a SOLE brave ref who stuck to his guns about the handball penalty he gave being correct, as indeed it was. This nonsense is NOT a price worth paying. It ruins the all-important passion and instant excitement of when a goal is scored and spoils the rightful ecstasy of fans watching. It also ruins the flow, and the all-important fast pace of Prem matches.
This is unacceptable! I SUGGEST IT IS A NONSENSE AND NEEDS TO BE DONE AWAY WITH RIGHT NOW. AS IN THIS MOMENT.
And as we Gooners all know, it cost us a goal at Old Trafford with Martinelli, on a SUBJECTIVE call from a second ref, who saw it differently from the on-field ref. No wonder Moyes of West Ham was spitting blood when they were denied a perfectly good goal, awarding our bitter rivals Chelsea two extra undeserved points, which may yet cost us at season’s end. And this nonsense goes on unhindered almost unchallenged, week after nonsensical week while we “mugs” have to grin and bear it. I say we do NOT HAVE TO DO SO. We SHOULD fight for the return of our beautiful game and not succumb to this tyranny and unfairness.
Now some will say “ah but it gets the right decision, almost all of the time”! I say ‘it patently does not!’, but even on the occasions it does, it takes far too long! It undermines and massively so, the valuable authority of the on-field ref who should be in SOLE CHARGE. He should not have his homework PUBLICLY marked by an often-faulty examiner, who takes several minutes to come up with the wrong decision, which he then foists on all but the bravest refs, who meekly submit to this tyranny. Poor cowardly suckers!
Now to Devil’s Advocate time, as I attempt to put forward a case FOR VAR, that I plainly do NOT believe in, so here goes, in an attempt at balance: on field refs have an almost impossible job and cannot win with all spectators, no matter what they do or do not. One team’s fans or the other will always slate them. VAR does give the on-field refs an out; they can claim they were under pressure, intolerable pressure, to change their original decision and that they eventually gave the right decision, thus getting justice, even though it is delayed justice.
To that I would say that this: IF – as in goal line technology, which I agree works wonderfully well – all other VAR decisions were technologically advanced enough so that an uncontroversial correct decision could be transmitted to the ref, INSTANTLY, without a Stockley Park middleman to confuse and spoil things, that would be ideal.
VAR OUGHT to have waited until technology became so sophisticated as to be like goal line technology in giving an instant, definitely correct, non-subjective, correct call, to the on-field ref.
THEN and ONLY THEN, WOULD I be in favour of VAR. I began this piece by stating I am in favour of the correct decisions, and I MEAN IT. But my fellow Gooners, we are being taken for a ride and having our enjoyment spoiled, which we pay through the nose for, even if we only watch TV sports packages, let alone pay for ground admission- the sheer cost of which is yet another monstrosity which I will tackle next week, after I return next week from my mini break away from JA.
Finally, though I will not be able to read replies until next week (I shut down all social media, family apart, when on hols) I welcome replies that go to the trouble of explaining properly why they either agree or disagree with my opinions.
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