Is VAR ruining football?
Anyone who was at Anfield yesterday watching Liverpool succumb to West Brom’s charms will tell you it definitely is.
Alan Pardew’s team scored three real life goals as they dumped Liverpool out of the FA Cup in the fourth round for the third year in a row.
The watching experience for the fans inside the stadium was clouded by the video assistant referee was called upon for three crunch decisions in the first half.
We’ve seen referees be hesitant when it comes to referring to the VAR but Craig Pawson was more than happy to get another look at some huge calls yesterday.
What could have been a very exciting game with loads of incidents was ruined by Pawson going to the video assistant Andre Marriner for basically every decision.
Pardew even blamed the VAR for two injuries to his players.
In the first 45 minutes, Pawson went upstairs to rule out an Albion goal, give a Liverpool penalty and to check a West Brom goal was good which led to a long delay.
Now, everyone is glad the right decisions were made in the end.
But why did it take so long to make them?
You would think it’s straightforward to watch a slow motion replay and make a call.
Pawson made the TV outline for the big decisions but then took several minutes watching replays to actually decide what to give.
Pardew says it was the long delays where the players cooled down which resulted in hamstring injuries to two players.
On the 20 minute mark Craig Dawson had his goal ruled out for Gareth Barry interfering with play from an offside position at a corner.
We accept that it was rightly disallowed and Liverpool fans would have been grumbling had it been given.
The real problem comes down to the length of time we are seeing referees take to come to a right decision having watched it back.
There is also the factor of players from the opposing side appealing every decision that goes against them and every goal they concede.
We might end up seeing refs consult the video for every decision in the future to make sure they don’t get something wrong.
In the 22nd minute Pawson used the pitch side screen to give Liverpool a penalty for a foul on Mohamed Salah.
Have originally decided there was no foul Pawson stopped play for three minutes before changing his mind.
Roberto Firmino missed the resulting spot kick.
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During first half stoppage time Matip knocked the ball into his own net but Pawson didn’t feel confident giving it without double checking and the players waited for two minutes before West Brom’s third goal was given.
It ruins the experience for the fans in the stadium as there will always be a slight hesitation when celebrating knowing that any goal could be checked by the video referee.
There are no replays inside the stadium and the fans in the stands are left wondering what everyone is looking at while viewers at home are up to date.
There were two further occassions in the second half when Pawson used the referee and it left fans fuming at the new development in the game.
All in all VAR definitely needs a lot of work before football fans accept it as part of the game.