Does VAR simply highlight how many mistakes are made by referees?


It only seems a season ago, that we were all agreeing that VAR had taken away the thrill of seeing a goal scored, followed by wild jubilation – decisions seemed to be taking an eternity by whoever was in the VAR hot seat, and referees were made to stand around like naughty children, to see if they had made the right decisions.

Everyone was denouncing the way the referees, under the “leadership” of Riley had decided to use VAR in a completely different way to any other football association, by deciding that referees were not allowed to use the pitch side television to review their decisions.

This was due, in my opinion, to the fact that Riley had always maintained that his referees got 96% of their decisions correct and he didn’t want them to be seen correcting their errors.

It has to be recognised, however, that the painstaking way that the slide rule was used to determine an offside decision, did ensure that the rules were followed to the letter and, despite the many debates about the time taken, the correct decisions were made – unlike the ability to look again at red card decisions, or reviewing tackles, or handball incidents in the first season of the VAR introduction.

After the season ended, the FA, PGMOL, clubs and players were all involved in the discussions on how to improve the undoubted benefits of VAR, if used correctly… of course no supporters were included in this discussion, we just pay our money to watch the mistakes affect each and every club!!

The first we knew, as far as I am aware, of any new changes was when we had our first pitch side review.

A red card was rescinded, quite rightly, and a yellow one produced (it was probably announced, and I missed it (perhaps someone reading this may verify one way or the other?).

Since then we have seen referees being “asked“ to look again at their on-field decisions and, to date, every time they have, the VAR officials recommendations have been upheld in every single case.

So I wonder what Riley must be thinking about his band of merry men and their 96% record of getting decisions correct?

Of course, another directive for VAR officials to review was handball… what a farcical exercise this has turned out to be… even though I did enjoy the Newcastle decision personally.

All the controversial handballs have, once again, been down to VAR… BUT aren’t they following the rules to the letter yet again??

I am beginning to think that not one person involved in changing the rules of the game, or how to implement the benefits of VAR, and/or our leading referees seem to have no common sense and virtually no experience of playing the simple game of football – such are the magnitude of ridiculous decisions and rules being made.

As a PL referee, the salary on offer is made up of a basic retainer of between £38,500 and £42,000 based on experience and a further £1,150 per match on top of that – Championship referees receive the same yearly retainer but earn £600 per game.

It is said that Howard Webb made around £120,000 in the 2013/14 season.

La Liga referees are paid about £5,200 per game with no retainer – or put another way, are paid on the way they perform.

Their top referees can make over 150,000 euros a season, based on their competence…see the subtle difference between that and Webb? It’s based on performance, not the old boys network!!!

German refs earn £3,150 – Italians earn £3,000 – French earn £2,400 – Portuguese earn £1,000…all with no retainers, again paid for performances and not on any retainers whatsoever. CL, or so called “elite referees” earn over £5,500 per game.

So, as one can see, the only country that protects it’s referees is in the PL and yet, week after week, we see controversial decisions, wrong decisions, but ninety times out of one hundred, they never get punished for their mistakes – be it on the field, or as VAR referees.

Isn’t it about time there was a really meaningful discussion about the standard of refereeing in the PL, how they get paid and what happens if they make mistakes?

Just think how, for example, MOTD talk about a referee’s mistake and then completely forget it as they move on to the next game – sweeping the dirt under the carpet, so as not to rock the boat!!!

Why are they not allowed to be questioned after a game, just as managers and players are?

To me, VAR has finally shown them as not up to scratch and VAR is being maligned for their incompetence – a pampered group of PL officials who have a vital role to play, but don’t do it properly.


All referees salaries and earnings were collected from Google sources.


  1. It is said that Howard Webb made around £120,000 in the 2013/14 season.
    Half of that coming from the glazers !
    For me VAR is a complete mess right now there needs to be consistency in the decisions that are being made ,the red cards ,penalty’s, hand balls every game is Different and is not consistent enough .
    What spoils it for me though is when a goal is scored you can’t celebrate because you just know VAR are going to look at something that happened 3 mins before hand .
    Hopefully Arsene will get it sorted for the better .

    1. “It is said that Howard Webb made around £120,000 in the 2013/14 season.
      Half of that coming from the glazers !”
      It is said by who?

  2. I would prefer refs making the decisions without VAR, good or bad, rather than the total mess that is VAR. It is taking the joy out of the game, you can’t really celebrate a goal until it has been reviewed and why the faceless ones looking at stuff remotely need to look at an incident 20 times is beyond belief.

  3. When Riley took over he completely shut up shop by stopping the referees from giving post match interviews (as they had been doing) and preventing any contact with PGMOL by the public.
    Why they have become so secretive is a mystery as there does not appear to be anything they have to gain and I’ve no problems with how much they are able to earn.
    Oh yeah, and I do not subscribe to the Conspiracy Blogs
    opinions of corruption among some of them as I think they referee matches fairly but often incompetently.

  4. Jax so they are fairly incompetent then 😂

    As for the information, I did state that it was sourced from Google and I will leave Dan to explain his glazier comment.

    1. Yeah Ken, it’s bit weird really, but their incompetancy is consistently shared.
      The secrecy is very odd though and having to sign non disclosure agreements on retirement looks suspicious, but some have refused and could speak out and Mark Halsey is the only one who has made allegations against Riley, but I still do not think the actual refs cheat although I’m open to be dissuaded.

  5. VAR was brought in to correct Referee mistakes. It is doing just that. The fact some of the laws have been changed, probably not all for the better,some laws look a bit silly and most fans DONT understand the rules of football. VAR gets more right than wrong, fans may not like VAR but thats a different argument. VAR corrects the mistakes that refs make. I read somewhere and i dont know where the figures were gathered from but refs are 80% reliable VAR was 98%. Not liking the concept is not the same as not liking the results. I prefer VAR, some dont, i like clarity and i like things to be correct. VAR is a machine and gives machine results, it is different to human only results. We are a machine reliant race, we rely on machine in everything in life to get us better results.

  6. I think that Reggie has made some very good points about the merits of VAR

    However, the time it takes to split a hair for offside for example is crazy.

    Referees are human and will continue to make mistakes occasionally. I’m just not overly keen on VAR taking the place of the ref to achieve a level of microscopic accuracy that takes an age to discover.

    1. Correct Sue, the laws of the game are more and more not about opinion but consequences. VAR itself does divide opinion, it gets result right and not instantly, that is then about the opinion of VAR as a tool not as getting it right or wrong.

  7. Never been in support of VAR even if it is in our favour because it comes to haunt us back ten times over.Mane should have seen a straight red card for the foul on KT and I guess it was Jota who had clearly handled the ball in the box but nothing came of it cos we are Arsenal. Yet VAR could be sweet to some teams to the extent of awarding a penalty after the fulltime whistle has been blown.Well, maybe I am a sore loser but I still don’t fancy the VAR idea.

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