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FMFA Manager
Dazoctaron

So near and yet so VAR

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This is a copy of my post from the TDE3 forum.

 

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As an ex-referee I have been asked what I think about the latest VAR decisions.

Last season, and the season before, I was an advocate of the system being introduced but the way the PGMOL(responsible for referees and VAR) have implemented the system has made it look like an antiquated system.  In fact IFAB (Governing body) have told the Premier League and PGMOL that they are not using the system correctly. The Premier League did not want to use pitch-side monitors (although they are at most games) because they feared that it would considerably slow the process down but as we can all see the process is incredibly tedious at times and early in the season they basically used VAR to try and prove that our referees were good and made very few mistakes, which is NOT the case.  This way of using VAR then led to people questioning the system but it's not the VAR system that's at fault it's the way that the Premier League are using it. For the first time in over 80 years Britain did not have ANY officials at the 2018 World Cup and our use of VAR is not helping in reversing that, in fact it is having a detrimental effect.

PGMOL stated that it would be used for 'clear and obvious errors' but that definition is ambiguous at best and doesn't work in practice.  One person's clear and obvious isn't the same as the person sat next to him and some of the penalty (or non-penalty) decisions have been downright awful but I will briefly deal with some of the offside decisions from the last round of fixtures.

Norwich v Tottenham

Pukki's goal disallowed for offside.

I initially thought that it was a harsh decision and that the goal should've stood, especially if it was that marginal then he should've been given the advantage.  But after speaking to some more senior referees I can understand why it was disallowed.  Pukki did not CLEARLY get himself back onside before the ball was passed forward which means that he is actively offside.  Margins don't come into it.  If he did not clearly establish himself as onside then he is offside.

Liverpool v Wolves

Mane's goal

Originally AFTER the ball hit the net the onfield referee gave handball against Lallana, which it clearly wasn't and it was overturned by VAR.  The other part of the argument, handball by Van Dijk, could not be determined by replays.  It's possible it touched his arm but it is NOT decisively proven either way and therefore cannot be overturned.  The handball rule about it hitting the arm of any attacking player during the build-up is a nonsense and needs to be revoked, although it was only really brought in after Wolves goal against Manchester City where what looked like a diving header actually went in off the players arm.  That goal was perfectly legal as it was accidental but football's governing bodies do not like goals being scored with the hand and so changed the law.

Wolves 'goal' disallowed

This was an awful decision anyway you look at it.  There was less than a millimeter between the lines, if any, and you could debate that those lines are not 100% accurate anyway.  The technology isn't there at the moment to determine exactly when the ball is played and without that you cannot say when the player was onside/offside.  As far as I'm concerned if a couple of replays don't give a definitive answer then don't change the decision.  Simple.

Manchester City v Sheffield United

Referee impedes a United player and City score.

The explanation given was that because the ball did not touch the referee a drop ball could not be given.  Absolute trash as far as I'm concerned.  The referee clearly impeded the player and he has the authority to stop the game and re-start it with a drop ball.

 

I'll keep an eye out for more contentious VAR decisions but I'm happy to give a referee's perspective on any decisions that you think are dubious.

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