There is a meeting of Premier League clubs in April which will chart the way forward for this worldwide popular product. The meeting concerns VAR and whether it should be adopted across the board from next season.
The squiggly line debate for Juan Mata’s goal against Huddersfield has not helped the pro VAR lobby. Gary Lineker was right when he tweeted: “Thought VAR was supposed to be to correct a clear and obvious mistake? Mata’s patella may have been offside but it was far from an obvious howler.”
The people behind Hawkeye had to apologise for the squiggly line graphic. Apparently officials got a straight line version!
Clearly the technology has to be right but those saying VAR should be scrapped seem to be just like King Canute holding back the inevitable tide. Video technology is here to stay, even though it has to be perfected.
Cricket had to rewrite rules several times and enhance their technology before it not only worked, but the officials and players were comfortable with it. Rugby League and Rugby Union have adopted it and – by and large – it gets decisions right. The Wales try that wasn’t against England contradicts my theory but it was a rare error. America’s football uses it, tennis and so on.
“But these are stop-start sports – different from football” I was told last week. I don’t buy that theory. How many times does the ball go out of play for a throw or corner or goal kick? How much time is wasted for disputes with referees over decisions? The VAR, when the tech is right, should empower the officials. Players will not have a leg to stand on in the big decisions.
As a fan myself I can argue black is white with the best of them. But TV is bankrolling this league and VAR is the way to enhance that experience.
It will get more of the big decisions right, and if we have to put up with a few teething problems this season, so be it. Clearly the technology has to be improved and people should learn from their mistakes. In April, the Premier League clubs should vote “yes”. Remember, King Canute didn’t just get wet!