Yes, VAR is rubbish, but so are anti-Arsenal conspiracy theories

The majority of Arsenal fans are sick and tired of VAR, technology that was meant to highlight obvious mistakes but now dissects every last detail. What makes it worse though when it happens in an Arsenal game is you know you will spend the next few days reading and listening to conspiracy theories.

It’s a shame as Saturday the Gunners were actually good to watch, which is all we can ask for in a League campaign where we have nothing left to play for. As long as my team give 100 percent, I’m happy to accept Xhaka made a freakish error and on another day, we would have taken our chances.

Yet straight away the internet was bombarded, with the officials and the FA accused of corruption.

On JustArsenal one reader commented, ‘Every season they know where Arsenal will finish because the corrupt referees and VAR will do the programming.’

Another wrote, ‘VAR cost us 14 points last season. Shame on English FA’.

On Twitter, Tweets included, ‘A Clear agenda that against Arsenal’, and ‘A corrupt League’.


On AFTV, Tye is getting views for constantly complaining of a conspiracy. Funny how he only starts doing that once he hasn’t got someone with depression to argue with?


When my cousin was younger, my Auntie entered her into various singing competitions. Whisper it quietly, my cousin had an okay voice but nothing special.

She hated to lose so would have various reasons why she didn’t come first.

‘It’s only because that girls mum’s friends with the judge.’

‘That girls popular.’

‘That girls dad left so everyone felt sorry for her.’

After years of this I plucked up the courage to point out that maybe just maybe, on that particular night, the winner was simply better?


My cousin was young. I shouldn’t have to explain this to adults, but here goes ……Arsenal are 10th because we haven’t been good enough this season. The likes of Villa, Wolves and Burnley all deservedly beat us at the Emirates.

Have there been fixtures where a ref got it wrong? Of course!

Yet if you get outside of your bubble, you can see that dodgy decisions are happening, but not just to us.

Did you see Lewis Dunk’s free kick at West Bromwich, Fulham’s goal against Spurs, Man United should have had a penalty at Chelsea. So is there an agenda against everyone? Not just us?

Say it out loud and think how immature it sounds.

The Football Association get with match officials in secret meetings and say ‘whatever you do, make sure Arsenal fail’. Why? What’s the motive?

Why do some fans think we are so unique that organizations are out to stop us?


If you really wanted to think a bit, common sense would show that the theory doesn’t work.

We got a penalty at Leicester and against Leeds? How come? If the ref had been told to screw us, why would he give us anything?

As one of the tweets I mentioned referred to last season, let me point out the Cup Final. We got a penalty at Wembley where the foul started outside the box and Chelsea got a red card when there was zero contact. Again, what kind of an agenda involves helping us win a trophy and qualify for Europe?

If the FA were out to destroy us, what a golden chance to make sure we are not in Europe, yet decisions went our way?

Explain that to me?

If some want to go as far back as our invincible streak ending at 49 games due to shocking officiating at Old Trafford, then be honest and admit we would never have gone unbeaten in the first place had Pires not dived against Portsmouth.

Unless they are really rubbish at this agenda, why would an official give Pires a pen with zero contact if he was corrupt?

Burnley supporters have rightfully pointed out that it’s not like Arsenal have never had big calls go their way at Turf Moor.

Don’t misunderstand me, VAR and officiating needs to improve, but to try and claim Arsenal are the only victims is naive or arrogant or both.

The club motto is Victoria Concordia, Latin for Victory in Harmony – meaning to win in the right way.

There’s also such a thing as losing in the correct way. Show dignity, pride, class, a little bit of humility.

It’s easy to blame everyone else for your failings. It’s harder to look from within…

Be kind in The Comments




  1. VAR is beyond a joke now! Simply because we now have far more controversy than ever before. It was brought in to avoid this, not make things worse.

    It’s easy for any fan of their respective club to feel VAR is against them, because it’s their team that they watch more then any other. I like to watch other games if I get a chance, but a lot of fans only watch their own team’s games.

    Through watching other games, I can conclude that VAR is shocking for other teams as well. Keep the goal-line technology, but please scrap VAR!

    1. No VAR isnt a joke, the idiot ref manning the VAR is. I would WANT a more severe penalty on that person. If the cowards at the FA would act more harshly like sack the pr..k then VAR would become the tool it was meant to be.

  2. The VAR works for and/or against any team it should not be an exscuse for not beating games for Arsenal they should get more physical and attack their enemies instead of weakly posessing the ball without attacking.

  3. VAR has helped to make some good decisions,especially in the case of offsides but please explain the “clear and obvious” concept cuz i feel being subjective in that case has cost points for teams
    VAR is human after all so can make mistakes but controversies every week means that it is not foing whats expected

  4. Good post. Completely agree. First sign of weakness is when you start to blame others for your failure. VAR has been bad and inconsistent but it has been for everyone. It’s not only us who suffer from it. Why pin your hopes on VAR instead of winning the game on your own by taking the chances we create. If Pepe would have scored that simple goal we would not be sitting here and blaming VAR for a draw. I say again VAR has been against n in favour of a lot if not all the teams in EPL. There is no agenda against us. We are no longer that big of a force that some hidden powers will spend their energy n money to bring us down, even if hypothetically they want to then they don’t have to becaue we are self destructing any ways with poor decisions on and off the field.

  5. My only grief about officials is that I would like to see their incompetence hurt Man utd as much as it hurt others not always going their way.

    Man utd and soft penalties is a theme I have seen ever since I started watching the EPL and continue to this day.

    1. The Mancs and soft penalties? Never 😂

      We only have ourselves to blame for those dropped points at Turf Moor. The inconsistencies with the officials/var are really frustrating – as much as gifting goals and missing numerous chances!!

      1. Can’t argue with your second paragraph Sue. One can only hope things will change. What I would give to see a soft penalty cost Man utd big time.

  6. Dan, you are correct. The only conspiracy involves Mike Riley and his control of FA referees. VAR is in disrepute, because of Mike Riley’s influence on the FA to implement VAR in its current form, rather than as it is implemented elsewhere in Europe and the rest of the world.
    There appears to be acceptance of the benefits of VAR in Europe, and from personal experience in Australia. It appears only in the UK, that it’s veracity is in question.
    There is only one reason for this and that is the different implementation by Riley and the FA in the UK. Why does the FA have to have a different implementation of VAR to the rest of the football world? This must be changed.

  7. And finally, on handball in the box. Like hockey, hits you on the hand/arm……..penalty. No more this nonsense about intent.

    1. But then people will just kick the ball at your arms. Remember Nani getting a pen on monreal(?) from kicking the ball at his arm while he was on the floor a few years ago. So frustrating

  8. You have written well Dan but i want to say, this last penalty claim happy in westbrom match last two weeks and it was giving! I remember, against Benfica in UL, Var was ask to look at the monitor and he gave a penalty against the young gunners Smith! so why not ask the ref to go check and you just make the decision and said not a penalty! If you don’t want arsenal fans to think, there is a hidden motive , then ask the ref, to go have a look! After all var is there to help them and not made decision for them!

  9. We are really clutching at straws blaming VAR yes decisions have gone against us but that’s not the reason we are in the current position that’s just making excuses for a club like Arsenal being 10th in the prem league is a absolute embarrassment and I’ve made my views clear on Arteta so not going to keep repeating myself but wherever you finish at end of season is the place you belong results and stats don’t lie and until something changes at managerial level we will continue being a mid table mediocre club and a complete laughing stock!!

    1. @Danny-Lampard proved he was out of his depth at Chelsea and the job was too big for him. They bring in Tuchel and now look at them.
      Arteta is not improving anything we had under Emery and as you say this is proven with the results, performances and our 10thposition in the league. We have no choice but to see the season out with Arteta, but if a clear improvement is not seen then we MUST bring in a proven manager. Naglesman would be perfect. Pay whatever and give him a transitional season during 2021-22 and I would seriously expect him to get this squad playing to the level they should be, which is Top 6 minimum.

      1. Phil do you seriously imagine NAGELSMAN or anyother world class proven name would even contemplate working under KROENKE? You may well think, just because I defend MA that he was my own preferred choice when he came.

        Of course he was not – though as a new manager and moreover OUR manager , being a true supporter, I will give him a fair chance – BUT I also knew that I had a better chance of winning the lottery than we had to attract a world famous name, UNDER Kroenke. I had hoped for Allegri but knew it would never happen.

        Phil, THAT is why I call myself a realist. Top managers will demand proper spending money, whereas MA would no doubt LIKE more but does not throw his toys out of the pram in the midst of a world wide pandemic when money is short practically at all clubs , even many giants like Madrid and Barca. Your “pay whatever” is all very well, until you remember who you are telling that to. KROENKE! Consider please!

        1. Jon- why do you believe Naglesman would not come? Arsenal is a very big club. Financially we spend far more money than he has ever had at his disposal. Emery was a sought after manager and he came. I think you are far too quick to put everything down to Kronke. Just look our net spend since he took 100% ownership and tell me we do not back our managers.
          I just pray that if Arteta is kept on past the end of this season then EVERY deal he wants is vetted and approved by others. He has no doubt take this Club BACKWARDS and DOWNWARDS after the same time Emery had in charge. So don’t for one minute believe Arteta is bullet proof. A bad result against the Spuds is just not acceptable. Lose that game, in fact Not Win That Game, and he will be struggling

        2. Jon- i replied to you but it looks like it was censored and removed. Cant actually believe it because it was polite and to the point, which is not how we normally correspond.

          1. And I also notice Jon that you failed to reply to any of the numerous posters who called you out yesterday. No surprise there. Durands comments totally ridiculed your thoughts so why I would expect you to embarrass yourself even further?
            Durand deserved an answer, or is he too one of the many juveniles on this site because his thoughts on Arteta differ from yours?

          2. Try again Phil. Pats spam filter bans certain words, even when used harmlessly .I ended up talking about “lovable Adolf” as I knew the word Hitler is banned. So pleased we are now civil and I’D LOVE IT TO STAY THAT WAY, NEW PAL!


        3. @Jon Fox
          Klopp came to Liverpool despite Liverpool spending far less than Araenal and despite starting on a salary far lower, than we were paying Wenger.
          The myth about Arsenal’s low spending is apparently impossible to kill. Nevertheless, it is still a myth, and it can’t explain, why we haven’t challenged for the title in so many years.

  10. I believe the Lewis Dunk decision was correct. The ref mistakenly blew his whistle and he knew it. Man utd ‘penalty’ wasn’t a handball, Hudson and greenwood were guilty of handling the ball.

    1. How or why do you accidentally blow a whistle ?
      Plus dunk said he had said ‘ I’ll take this quick and reef said okay ‘

  11. Juventus and Man United got plenty of dubious penalties in the 90s. Juventus were proven to have bribed the officials and got relegated as the result, but Man United weren’t

    There should be a thorough investigation on EPL officials’ competency and integrity, but we shouldn’t blame VAR and our one mistake for the Burnley game. It was our attackers’ inabilities to finish the clear-cut chances that cost us the game

    1. What about our inability to keep a clean sheet
      Didn’t it cause us the game too?
      Every team misses chances, it’s not only at arsenal on a day where the forwards are mis-firing the bare minimum you can do as a team is keep a clean sheet….

      1. We just made one mistake in the back, but we had at least four sitters in Burnley. A top team could miss one or two easy chances, but more than that means the attackers must be more focused

        1. Burnley also had a chance to win the game which was not convertered.. 1:0 also guarantees 3 points
          You can’t be making mistakes leading to goal every game and expect your strikers to bail you every game doesn’t work this way…
          big teams as you put it win games scaping out 1:0

  12. I read an article somewhere and it explained that all these noises about VAR in epl is for marketing purposes.

    The want epl to be the most talked about league in the world and so they intentionally make those silly mistakes.

  13. I have been challenging this “Media Bias and football Bias” against Arsenal talk from my fellow gooners since 2017.
    People have absolutely convinced themselves that we are targeted just because we are Arsenal.
    I keep suggesting, step out of the ARSENAL VICTIMHOOD BUBBLE for a few minutes and may be you can clear your clogged mind. This is how we end up with cultish mentality (Trump supporters). One segregates themselves into this echo-chamber with those of a similar mentality / attitude then it all goes downhill from there.

    There is no bias or conspiracy against Arsenal. Some people have to start thinking and reasoning as rational educated adults of the 21st century.

    Conspiracy and Bias talk is the most cringeworthy rubbish ever.

    Thank you very much.

  14. VAR rears it’s ugly head only when the decision made by the operative on duty looks foolish. At Burnley that happened when a clear and obvious handball was not punished with a penalty.

    When the red card and penalty was later rescinded VAR did its job correctly and justice was done

    That is all we all want – to see the system being used correctly

    I can see why some are up in arms at the injustice of it all but those on VAR duty each week make the same cock ups to all clubs, not just Arsenal. It is just painful that this error had such an impact on the way the game panned out, but if those missed good chances had been taken………

  15. The problem of VAR and Arsenal as compared other teams is their inconsistencies, just like the overall English referees. But Arsenal should have won that game, especially with Saka and Pepe missing glaring chances throughout the game. What about Leno and Xhaka giving Burnley an equalizer on a platter of gold. Arteta has a lot of talking to do to his boys.

  16. Nothing wrong with VAR but we need the referee to look at the screen himself instead of a “VAR official”

  17. Maybe referees are intentionally making criminal VAR decisions as to force the cancellation of it.

  18. There’s no conspiracy against Arsenal (are you reading this Tony Attwood and acolyte idiots) anymore than there’s no conspiracy against any other PL team. There is however some massively incompetent refereeing both on the field and in the VAR hub at Stockley Park.
    PGMOL needs to be disbanded and replaced by an organisation funded solely by the FA and no other conflicted parties and staffed by an accountable team of ex referees and other professionals who are accessible to the public. Match day VAR advisors should be at least three strong selected from a rotating pool of knowledgeable ex players, managers, referees and pundits of both sexes.
    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there is corruption in the current system but Mike Riley needs to be got rid of ASAP.

  19. You keep banging on the “ no conspiracy” against Arsenal in you usual very pc manner.There is NOT a single southern ref in the prem 🤬 wtf.? You don’t find that odd? There are a few websites that have gone into the stats of decisions against us over the seasons.Let me tell you it makes interesting reading.I wouldn’t be so quick to mock the conspiracy theorists.If you’re happy with most of the decisions that rob us occasionally fair enough.There’s always a mug willing to accept it.more fool you.For the rest of us our eyes can tell us clearly.,make that very clearly what we see.

    1. You say that refs cheat. I say that’s nonsense. IKNOW THAT ALL FANS DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES WHO IS RIGHT. Those who love conspiracy theories will back you. I’d hate to have such fools back me and am relieved that they won’t.

      WHERE REFS LIVE IS A TOTAL IRRELEVANCE. Clubs have fans from all over the country and some like us, from across thr world. which destroys your “no southern refs” nonsense!

  20. Arsenal have yet been caught trying to play or pass from the back, if no danger lurks.
    If there are risks, why not boot the ball upfield. Then chances of a goal being conceded are less.

  21. I can’t send you the link.But if any of you non conspiracy,Arsenal are not hard done by disciples should check out The “ 101 goals website today” A non Arsenal site who’ve just done a snapshot of just the VAR decisions that have gone against this season alone.Read it & 😪 weep.All correct.Dont make me 😂.Next up I’m waiting for the classic “ these things even out over the season” really? I’m waiting……

    1. UWot
      So Arsenal have never had a decision go their way ?
      If they have its not at agenda is it

      1. Yes arsenal will get few decisions go their way because so as to paint a better picture of the situation and not make it more glaringly clear the fact still remains that the rate is like 80/20 whereby 80% of the time the decisions are against us then deep questions must be asked as that can not be been mere inconsistent or incompetent

        1. Well let’s look at pens
          Gabriel – On yellow was last man and brings Theo down- fair decision
          Pepe puts head to Leeds head – fair decision
          Xakha puts hand to Burnley players throat – fair decision
          Same game should Elneney should have got sent off so VAR helped us
          Leno handles ball outside area against Wolves – fair decision
          Luiz was debatable against Wolves in my opinion
          So 4 out of 5 red cards were fair
          So 80-20 not true

  22. Completely agree that believing in some kind of conspiracy is a little bit crazy, but I don’t think it’s quite so nuts to say that there may be biases at play.

    (I don’t know how many people really mean it when they talk about conspiracies anyway)

  23. Another mature sensible and articulate article from the very best REGULAR writer on here. Random thoughts on Dans article then; there will always be conspiracy theorists and in all walks of life.

    Back in 1969, many thought the Moon landing was a hoax, some thought Lord Lucan, Elvis, even “lovable Adolf” the German Chancellor were still alive, years after they all died. Some believe in the Loch Ness Monster, others that the vaccines for Covid will harm them! There is even a FLAT EARTH SOCIETY! Honestly,(look it up)!

    YES REALLY! Sadly, there ARE people around who love a conspiracy story and will find one in even the most innocent truth. More conspiracy stories are that all refs and the refs association are out to “get” Arsenal (skilfully debunked by DAN of course) but still SOME will choose to perpetuate that nonsense!

    Now, what then about the most stupid conspiracy theory of them all; the one that thinks we need another ref sat in a remote studio with a bank of TV screens whose job should be to tell the match ref when he is wrong ! I SAY THAT RIDICULOUS CONCEPT IS THE BIGGEST SICK JOKE IN FOOTBALL. Moreover, to seriously expect every match official, whether on the pitch OR in Stockley Park to get EVERY decision right is bonkers.

    Humans make mistakes , players give away penalties with stupid unnecessary fouls, players miss open goals despite it being “easier” to score than to miss, refs make mistakes.

    And WHAT have they ALL got in common? They are human! Show me a human on our planet who never makes a mistake and I’LL SHOW YOLU A LIAR!

    Wiser worldly wise people know that as humans make mistakes, the best way is to accept this truth and to enforce on field player respect for all refs, NOT to undermine refs by “marking their homework” in public at Stockley Park and by immediately ditching, once and for all, the complete idiocy of introducing the ruinous VAR into our precious game which has spoiled so much of ALL our regular enjoyment. BAN CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND VAR!!!

  24. Funny how these “ human” mistakes regularly occur in Arsenal matches? Have u watched that compilation yet? Answers on a postcard……

  25. Dan,

    I do not like conspiracy theories either – but I am a scientist. I do not support denying REALITY. How do you explain Arsenal’s poor luck with referees over years in which all the cumulative data show poor luck? If you cannot explain something, that does not mean that it does not exist. The only problem is that you cannot explain it; often because of your information limitation. Bizarre does not mean untrue. So I find the conspiracies problematic – but now I am finding the defense of these referees worse.

    When I was a child we had a dog that hated only one boy in the neighbourhood. The boy was deaf and we thought OMG this dog discriminates. We defended the boy and actually punished the dog repeatedly. Things got so bad that we had to look out for the boy to help him pass the house as the dog started jumping the fence to attack the boy. Eventually, I decided to investigate. My findings: the deaf boy’s older brother used to beat my dog, but went away. The dog thought he had returned when this boy began school and went pass my home.

    Fact: Arsenal gets a hard hand from referees.
    Conjecture: All the theories about why.
    Conclusion: The referees cannot be defended, as much as we do not know why they treat us unfairly. They just do – and VAR NEEDS TO BECOME INDEPENDENT.


    1. You are not a scientist or you would not write as you do. That is obvious to me. YOUR PREMISE IS FALSE, AS ALL CUMULATIVE DATA DOES NOT SHOW BAD LUCK. YOU ARE NO MORE SCIENTIST THAN I AM. And I am NOT one.

  26. I don’t know if you simply want to have a go at arsenal or you just don’t want to face the truth, refrees are human and the VAR officials and to assist but when you simply refuse to make a call, it is criminal and it’s against arsenal the most.No one helped arsenal win the FA simple. Which ever team you’re surporting, don’t even say it.

    1. I’m simply saying if there was an agenda why would Chelsea get a red card
      You can’t have it both ways
      You asking to talk about situations that go against Arsenal but if anyone names a time Arsenal benefit from poor officiating , they are not a fan ?

  27. If you compare Manchester United’s ” good fortune”, with penalties to Arsenal’s bad luck of often not getting a fair outcome, it makes sense to feel negative, especially after an immediate post game discussion when the blood is still boiling. My take and it could be a stupid one is that many of these northern lads who become referees have their in built biases, either related to the capital or their
    boy hood allegiancess to local clubs so that 50/50 calls are sometimes unconsciously slanted against us while also at the same time making the men from Old Trafford a protected species due to their history. I hope it makes more sense than the idea of a cabal or whistle men coming together to scheme against Arsenal.

  28. Just been reminded of the Van Persie sending off at The Neu Camp. Now that was a dodgy decision which defies logical explanation. Barcelona the darlings of world football vs the team managed by an arrogant Frenchman. Hmmmm

  29. Recently announced. IFAB are going to trial a change to the offside rule in China. It’s the one advocated by Wenger in which a player remains onside if any goal scoring part of his body is in line with second last defender, ie they will only be offside if there is daylight between them. Sounds great to me.

  30. Let’s cool our heads. Dan, I understand what you are saying. I simply do not agree that the conspiracy people are any less correct than you are. In summary, for those who refuse to get the point, even though we cannot support conspiracies, a pattern of behaviour against Arsenal cannot be discounted. When studying reality you can only not deny what exists. I cannot say why it happens – but the pattern does not show coincidence or an equal out at the end as suggested by many. Something is wrong. I do not know what it is – and I refuse to guess. But I shall not condemn those who guess in anger or disappointment.

    Note to Jon Fox. Look at the data. Use something called a gap analysis. It allows you to see how many times you are on one side or another. Arsenal is the only traditional top 6 team that finds itself on the bad luck side consistently. Calm down and look. Take the time, it will help you to have some material to attack what people write. And do not trust anyone, go look for each year for yourself. Have fun.


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