There is no conspiracy against Arsenal – VAR is simply rubbish

The main talking point from this weekend is VAR or more specifically how it’s being implemented. by Dan

Let me stress my own stance is never wanting the Technology in the first place. To me part of the sport was being able to debate with your friend was it offside? Was that a penalty, etc. Sometimes to win you need elements of luck such as an official’s decision to go your way.

I can’t argue though against those who argue the financial implications are too high if you are relegated or miss promotion based on a ref getting something drastically wrong.

Arsenal would have lifted the 2001 FA Cup if the referee had licence to go look at a monitor and rewatch Henchoz handball.
Equally the invincible season might never have happened because it would be proved that Pires dived against Portsmouth. Just like Eboue dived in the Champions League Final which led to our goal.

The compromise, we were told, was that Video Technology would only be used as assistance if an obvious error was made. For example, a player being clearly offside or having used their hand to control the ball.

While other countries seem to have found the balance, in the UK we seem to have struggled, those at Stanley Park stressing over every minute detail till they find a reason not to award a goal.

Midway through the group stages of the 2018 World Cup, FIFA felt obliged to stress an official should only be consulted by his peers If an obvious error has been made.

My own point of view is Odegaard doesn’t make any contact with the ball on Sunday when winning back possession so it’s not as controversial as some might have you believe. Some would call it a free kick, others wouldn’t. Yet in a way our own viewpoint doesn’t matter. While I think it was a foul, it certainly doesn’t come under the criteria of what VAR was intended for.

Even if you disagreed with Paul Tierney’s judgement, you can’t say his call was an obvious error. The fact that so many pundits have debated the subject shows you it’s not an obvious mistake.

The reason goal line Technology has had few issues is because it’s factual, the ball is either over the line or not over the line, it’s factual not subjective.

My choice would be to scrap VAR completely. What we couldn’t do after that though is critique human error.

So, I don’t like VAR….. but where I will defend the FA, Premiership, etc is this idea that they have an agenda. Officiating in English is rubbish but it’s as simple as that, there is zero conspiracy. Refereeing needs improving but that doesn’t mean their integrity should be questioned.

Some Gooners believe that Martinelli’s goal was disallowed purely because of the shirt he wears. I find that thought process arrogant and living in your own bubble. That the Gunners are so special that suits sit in office planning our downfall?
For what purpose?
To stop us from being Champions?

For nearly two decades we haven’t needed anything any help when it comes to not challenging for the title!

It’s not just our fanbase though. I watch a West Ham fan channel where they feel VAR is part of corruption, designed to protect the top 6.

Take the emotion out of things and a fan would learn how nonsensical that is. Because you love the badge your blinded by your loyalty which makes you not subjective. The reality is every club has benefitted from VAR just like post VAR, every club once upon a time benefitted from a dodgy decision.

Aston Villa scored from a corner at the Emirates when VAR checked had there been a foul on Ramsdale. If there was an agenda to protect the ‘big six’ why was that given?

As for any conspiracy that exists to prevent us getting results against Man United …….. home and away, VAR led to two goals for us against them. Both correct decisions, but if we go with this crazy accusation that officials are ordered to sabotage us and help United, they would be doing a bad job of that by giving us goals thanks to VAR?

Last season VAR awarded us goals and penalties at Old Trafford just as much as they took them away.

So, VAR is rubbish but it’s just that – rubbish. It hasn’t got a motive; it’s not plotting behind your back. What you see is what you get.

Dan Smith

Tags VAR


  1. Maybe, but it’s still better to have a match with VAR

    OT: Since Chelsea are replacing their manager, I think Arsenal have a good chance to finish third, if Jesus, Martinelli, Partey and Zinchenko can stay fit

    1. I agree with you👍 if G.Portter leaves Brighton won’t remain the same.. And Chelsea players will need time to adapt to a new style of play by a new coach. There players are also becoming “toxic” it would be had foe them tonnage top4 Most likely Man.City, Spuds, Arsenal Man.U. My opinion though.

    1. Is it? According to a recent study in europe where VAR has been in use for longer, the exact same issues persist, indeed it can be argued they are more pronounced with VAR.

  2. The VAR system itself is fine, it’s the inconsistent analysis of the incidents that’s the issue.

    Personally I think VAR decisions should be made by a panel of ex players. Also no lines should be used for offside, you get 10 seconds to look at the replays without lines and if it’s not clear then the goal stands.

    1. Or they probably need to adapt the Chpions League tech. That is a lot clearer. Otherwise, if the lines touch in any way, that is a case of not being clear and obvious.
      One interesting thing that I saw that most aren’t looking at though, is that sometimes VAR doesn’t actually considers when the player foot connects with the ball in determining offsides.

  3. Very balanced article Dan. That’s the same way I see it. I think the whole conspiracy stems from the fact that Arsenal fans believe the media doesn’t like us. To Arsenal fans, the media doesn’t like us, and so does the FA too. The media part may be true though

    1. It’s been long established that the football establishment doesnt like arsenal. Paranoia doesn’t come in to it. They also hated leeds and wimbledon for the same reason – the establishment is conservative and hates anyone that rocks the boat. Their hatred for arsenal is worse as the club had the temerity to keep on being successful regardless. Various key arsenal figures have talked about the issue (the great bob wall for example) and the establishment have made no secret of it as several of the serious books on the club make clear. Anyone who doesnt believe the games establishment (which includes the media) clearly needs to look a bit harder at what’s been said and done since arsenal first offended the fa by joining the football league…

  4. Good article. Fans of every team feel hard done by VAR and some think there is a conspiracy. Their isn’t.

    Our officials just keep getting it wrong. At least it is consistently inconsistent for everyone. Which team has not had a head scratching “that’s not a clear and obvious error” VAR decision go against them this season?

    1. Actually the data in a recent study of VARs use in europe says they’re right. VAR has been shown to heavily favour home sides and worryingly ‘big teams’.

  5. Var should be used to assist the referee not make all the decisions for him. To my mind var should only be used if called upon by the referee as he is the one in charge of the match not the bloke in var.

    1. There is a simple solution to this controversy of VAR, since the referee now has the opportunity to take a second look at the incident in a football match they have no excuse to get the decision wrong, be it the centre referee or the VAR officials. The only way out of this mess is that ref and VAR officials should get punished and sanctioned for making wrong decisions. If you have been given all the necessary tools and equipment to succeed in a job and you still fail, then your boss is not to be blamed but it simply you not get it right. People had always excuse referees errors on the premises that they dont have the opportunity of a second look at incident in a football match, then they have to make split second decisions. But now that’s no longer the case, so if they get it wrong the should be severely punished, that way this will put an end to dubious officiating. In football. Players get punished, coaches get sanctioned, clubs get fined and it seems the set of people that get away with whatsoever they do are the referees. They have become gods and seems to do whatever they like and get away with it. Until referees are being held accountable for their actions things will never change. I rest my case.

  6. We live in a world of technology so var will never be going away.
    No one really believes there is a conspiracy against us which is a lame excuse for bad results.
    What we all agree on though is we have incompetent people running the system thst cannot make critical decisions at crucial times of the game.
    The system is decent the people running it are not.
    That’s what they need to be concentrating on is getting better competent people in to the system to make make quicker Nd better decisions.
    Drawing a childish line across and saying his finger nails are off side is laughable

  7. Very good article Dan, but I don’t think we should junk VAR because of the muppets at Stockley (not Stanley) Park, so let’s completely replace PGMOL with a far more worthy and accountable organization and crew VAR with a pool of experts comprising ex players & referees from across the country.
    And your right of course about Arsenal not being the victims of a conspiracy…that’s just a default position of the sad (usually non match attending) fans (rather than supporters) who dwell on blogs that encourage their victim mentality.

  8. VAR was supposed to be used for clear and obvious decisions. Now we see virtually every goal being checked for fouls, offside, handball etc. As a fan it’s fustrating. If you need lines to see if a players thumb nail was offside then it is not clear and obvious and that’s where the problem lies with VAR

  9. Football needs VAR. It has to use the best available technology to ensure a high percentage of correct calls.
    The ridiculous howlers over the years agrees with that statement.
    But it needs to copy sports like cricket and have a ‘referee’s call’.
    Martinellis goal is a good example of letting the refs call flow and there should be a tolerance in offsides of 4″. If you don’t play those back to a baying crowd, they’ll accept the decision as studio replays won’t pick that up.

  10. Its not the VAR , its the officials . For years on end we’ve been complaining about the officiating. I mean how else can you explain officials turning a blind eye to our players getting kicked around and outrightly manhandled on the pitch with the refs and pundits blaming us for not being manly and that our team were soft boys. We suffered during the Wenger years , I mean someone broke Eduardo’s leg ( or was it Ramsey) and didnt even get a yellow card. Teams came to play us with a rugby tactics in mind. Please , no body should fault the VAR but the officials. And yes there was a conspiracy against us during the Wenger years and I believe it.
    VAR is only exposing how poorly trained and the adamant arrogance in the EPL officiating office and staffs are in their refusal to admit that they are sh!t and in badly need of reform

    1. Agreed completely and very clear examples of how we were bullied and denied the title due to dirty and nauseous tactics from teams who couldn’t handle Wengerball.

      Worse still is the media, pundits and our own fans cheering it. But we can’t say it because we don’t attend games and we have blogs to nourish our victim mentality eenh Jax?

  11. I tend to disagree with you completely lets go back to last season our most important game against spurs we were dominating for about 20 min if i can remember spurs first atack ref sees a tiny push on son from cedric penalty for spurs ,who was the ref of that game ? Paul tierney ,same ref as we got for man utd game,fast forward this season i know we ve been wining so any dodgy decisons were bypassed we dont think about them ,1. Against fulham jesus disallowed goal he was level with the defender porbably VAR deemed his fingernail was offside they were the zoomed in until framed went blurry ,villa game now,saka thrown to the game VAR? Nonexistant no review ,villa goal please dont tell was nothing wrong with it ,and then utd game we score man utd players swarm paul tierney goes to VAR of course will overturn it ,is there an agenda against us ?YES unless youre naive, how do win games? You better pray that we score super clean goals,and no foul before our goal for at least 3 minutes ,can we win a penalty against stronger teams away ?no unless defenders attack us with chainsaws or clubs etc,…im not a conspiracist i watch every game and i know what im watching when i see the bias on the refs,,,

  12. Var is totally rubbish how can u concel that beautiful goal an said Odeegard fawled him rubbish the fa knows what they are doing

  13. There’s already an article on VAR in the last couple of days, why write another? Do you think your views are so important that you can’t just post in the other article?

    P.S. Your opinion on this is as weak as your views on just about everything else – basically: not worth reading, the poorly-expressed ramblings of a muddled mind.

    I gave up at the second sentence “To me part of the sport was being able to debate with your friend was it offside?” – so you believe that the world’s most popular sport should be entirely devoted to a series of utterly pointless debates (pointless because everyone can see what happened quite clearly, via TV replays), except…

    That you would deny that knowledge to the one person who actually matters – the ref. Just so that you can have a brain-dead debate about a *known fact*. Are you serious??? Do you actually have a second grey cell to deploy or are these endless befuddled witterings really the best you can do?

    @Pat – I’m surprised you didn’t just tell Dan to post this as a response to Jon Fox’s recent piece on VAR. We could laugh at it there, no need for a duplicate subject.

      1. I actually did expect that you would make executive/editorial decisions on site content Pat. That’s what editors/owners do, the world over.

        It’s your site, you can refuse an article, ask for changes (or make them yourself) or in this case tell the author to post his text as a response to the existing article on the same subject that’s only about 1 day old, maybe 2.

        Are you saying that you let anyone send in an article and you always post it as-is, never changing anything, never refusing any articles for any reason? I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you. 🙂

  14. I firmly believe that The Arsenal were targetted by referees during the Wenger / Ferguson years.

    There is no doubt whatsoever that referees were “scared” of Fergie and the “Fergie time” was no myth.

    Go back to the 50th game at Old Trafford and watch, as I have done many times, the refereeing performance – it was an utter disgrace.

    The positive thing about VAR, is that the referees association now know that they are being held accountable for their actions, by replaying the decisions they give and to whom.

    Does anyone think Rooney would have got that penalty decision?
    Sol summed it up, when he refused to shake hands with him after the game.
    What about the ruud/Martin Keown penalty?
    Yet another example of a referee siding with manure, whereas VAR would have shown the obvious dive.

    It’s no longer the case that united get away with having no penalties awarded against them – VAR is an effective deterrent.

    Of course, our pompous band of useless referees had to try and show the rest of the world how VAR should be used and have made it and themselves a laughing stock!!

    Offside is offside if the rules are applied properly and evenly – the knee of an Arsenal player is the same as a knee of any other player – a shot crossing the goallline is a goal – just ask Lampard, England and Germany.

    What the EFA have done, is to make the VAR referees to be the over riding judges of what goes on and are using VAR as a crutch to cover their own incompetence.

    There is no doubt in my mind, that from Wenger’s early days, there was a systematic display of refereeing that was different for The Arsenal to any other club.
    There was no protection for the likes of Reyes, Rosicky, Ramsey, Eduardo, while Keane was allowed to, as he admitted, to go out and intentionally finish the career of another player.

    I appreciate VAR, it’s the incompetent people who use it that have turned it into the monster Dan and JF describe.

    Every other sport uses it effectively, even other affiliated football countries do, just Riley and his ilk couldn’t handle it.

    1. +1 Ken

      I added some comments to the original article on this by JF, re “subjective” rules…

      How they were never mean to be subjective, they became that over time by players constantly being allowed to push the boundaries. I don’t want to repeat it all here, it’s silly to have 2 articles on the same subject at once.

      1. I did read your comments on the JF thread my friend.

        By the way, AdminPat does refuse articles…. as I can personally vouch too.

  15. VAR is needed on my side referees was making mistakes intentionally but because of VAR now sometimes they fear because they know when go to VAR they will be ashemed ,
    I support VAR to stay and to use it in any complain from players

  16. I WANT TO FIRMLY ENDORSE BOTH DANS CENTRAL THOUGHTS ON VAR. Firstly, as Gooners wil lknow if they read my article , I DESPISE THE WHOLE MISGUIDED CONCEPT OF VAR and if I HAD THE POWER I would ban it this instant , UNTIL all controversial calls were able to be instantly corrected by non faulty and non subjective use of modern technology.

    AND transmitted in an instant, DIRECTLY to the onfield ref, as goal line decisions are, without any use whatsoever of a middle man, ie Stockley PARK!

    I AM NOT AGAINST VAR IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES. But until and unless they are available and ready to use, IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN IN USE AT ALL.

    So Dan, ON THIS I AM TOTALLY WITH YOU, though it seems we are in a minority of hardly any, sadly for justice and common sense.

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