In defence of VAR – come on people, it’s probably a good thing in the long run

All we are saying is give VAR a chance

You know how the old saying goes: “You should never have to rely on your Dad to text you to tell you Fernando Llorente fouled someone in the build-up, which is why the goal was disallowed.”

The phrase is even more devastating when you’re physically at the game, while he is watching it on TV, miles away from the stadium itself.

I am a supporter of VAR, but I saw for the first time on Wednesday night the frustrations of being inside the stadium as VAR chaos ensues, not knowing actually why decisions had or hadn’t been made.

So, yes, it is pretty annoying to have to be told by your own Dad on WhatsApp what the VAR decision was about, though not quite as annoying as being 28 years old and being told off for forgetting the handwarmers your Mum got you for Christmas for exactly this sort of weather.

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Here’s the thing – yes, it was frustrating to be inside the stadium and not know what was going on, as goals mysteriously disappeared from the giant Wembley scoreboard back to zero.

But overall, VAR is surely a good thing, right? Getting more decisions correct, regardless of the small delays in the game, can only lead to a fairer way of policing the beautiful game.

It’s amazing how many people have seemingly forgotten that it was because of VAR that Spurs got given a penalty rather than a free-kick outside the area.

That includes the manager, Mauricio Pochettino, who called some of the decisions ’embarrassing’, leading him to say that we are going to ‘kill the emotion in football’.

AP:Associated Press
Mauricio Pochettino, the only man who complains about decisions being in favour of his team

I just don’t buy this argument that the introduction of VAR is ruining the flow of the game, or, as Pochettino said, killing the emotion.

The delay to disallow Erik Lamela’s goal was 89 seconds. The delay for Lucas Moura’s penalty appeal was 62 seconds. The delay to eventually award a penalty when Kieran Trippier was fouled was 92 seconds.

There wasn’t a clock counting when Rochdale’s Stephen Humphrys sat down on the floor in the second half of the match after picking up a knock, but it was certainly edging over two minutes.

If we can accept the normality of players needing to receive medical treatment on the pitch, we will, I’m sure, learn to accept a minor stoppage in play to allow for VAR decisions.

Annoyingly it seems as if the tide is already turning against the introduction of VAR before it’s even really had a chance.

Yeah, that challenge will probably keep you on the floor for a few minutes


The players, who have broadly been supportive of the introduction, have started to hint that it’s going to ruin football – Spurs defender Danny Rose said it was ‘frustrating and confusing’, while Kieran Trippier said the VAR decisions took the momentum out of the game.

Now it seems like it’s just me and Juan Mata who actually support the introduction of VAR more widely.

The Man United player, who had a goal wrongly ruled out after a VAR cock-up, said he thinks in the future it will be helpful for the referees, and eventually bring more justice to football.

I’m only too pleased to agree with a player like Mata, and I can’t shake the feeling that while there are of course teething problems with the current system, in the long run it can only be a good thing.

Give it time, and soon with any luck we’ll realise that VAR actually improves the game, with our only worry in the world being why we didn’t remember our handwarmers without getting castigated by our fathers.

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