Don’t let technology spoil our game.The inconsistencies of football are what help make it beautiful.
Watching football from across Europe on the television, we always hear or talk about the key talking points of a game such as was it a foul? Or was it a penalty? Or was it a sending-off?
We are now discussing the further use of VAR and whether the Premier League should adopt it in future seasons. My answer is no we shouldn’t. VAR will kill off the sport we all call ‘the beautiful game’.
By using VAR, referees are now reluctant to make key decisions because they can refer to the video assistant referee as a safety net. Referees are there to make these decisions.
The definition of a referee is ‘an official who watches a game or match closely to ensure that the rules are adhered to and to arbitrate on matters arising from the play’. If a referee relies on a piece of footage to help his/her decision, then what’s the point in having a referee?
In rugby, they always say to the television match official (TMO), for example ‘is there any reason why I cannot award the try?’ This means they have made the decision and the footage will confirm/reverse the call. It is so easy to put up a big screen and a microphone so we can hear the dialogue between the players and the decisions that the referee has made.
I accept the fact it will help reverse the horrendously-bad decisions being made by an official, but it will ruin the analysis of big talking points in the game. No team will ever play a perfect brand of football, so why should we expect the referees to have a perfect game? Players make huge mistakes and referees also make huge mistakes - and we should embrace that. It’s what makes football, football.
Being a referee can now be a career option, as referees in the Premier League are full-time as part of the Professional Game Match Official License (PGMOL) organisation.
However, referees never start at the top, they have years and years of experience going up the divisions from the county leagues into the upper echelons of the football pyramid. They have been through thick and thin and almost every situation that the game has to offer. They will get some decisions wrong. Accept it.
In a crucial FA Cup tie between Liverpool and West Brom, VAR was used (or shall we say over-used) as many decisions were decided through the technology. Baggies manager Alan Pardew called VAR ‘bizarre’ and said it affected the atmosphere at Anfield.
No fan wants to stand in silence waiting for a ‘correct’ decision to be made, especially when the referee takes 20-30 seconds to put his finger to his ear. Just make a decision and get on with it, people will forget about it in the future.
VAR is still in its infancy as the technology has been in fruition for a relatively short time, but it will ruin the flow of the game and the atmosphere will completely change at any ground where it is used. I just hope that this does not kill off the game that we all love and cherish.