Where do you stand with VAR, or perhaps more importantly with the laws of our game?

So what can we agree upon? Despite the obvious need for a trial of said VAR in advance of it being rolled out “in full” next season, surely it cannot be in any way just for the system to be called upon and used in some quarter finals of the World’s oldest knockout competition, and yet NOT be available to use in others? If it was not possible for it to be used yesterday in the Swansea game, it should not have been used in any of the quarter finals.

David Ramos – FIFA via Getty Images

In a not unusual controversial game as is seen in British football season after season, it might be the case that there are six incidents that it is felt appropriate to refer to VAR. If the average time taken currently to make a decision is between 2 and 3 minutes, this could add 15 to 18 minutes extra to the running time for a game. This is surely not acceptable to us in this country. The next thing will be advert breaks for hot dogs, and Diana Ross singing at half time!

On the same point, with discussions (and punishments) occurring last week regarding pitch invasion and protection for players, surely the VAR system must provide ongoing information for the spectators as to what is being assessed? Frustration/anger at officials is just as likely to bring about pitch invasion on the part of the idiots escaped from the asylums, in my opinion.

This said, I hope Arsenal Arsenal bloggers will agree that if VAR corrects only one of the incompetent decisions most of us see every week from the officials allocated to Arsenal games, it’ll be worth having – even if it’s only once in a while!

And so to the second part of my question……

Three laws in Association Football provide the greatest cause for controversy in our game (and will undoubtedly be the the reason VAR is called upon next season). Rather than tinkering with the laws and, in my opinion, making them even more difficult to understand (as the “authorities” appear to have done in recent years), why not simplify them and make them easier to assess for both officials and spectators alike?

Handball:- take out the word “deliberate” (the one thing that has always been in the law and always been the cause of controversy) and say that if the ball hits the hand or arm in any circumstance it is handball, and if occurring in the penalty box by a defender, a penalty. Of course players will learn how to flick the ball up and onto hand/arm. Same for all, teach it.

Offside:- Go back to giving the forward the advantage. For an assistant referee to give an offside he must see a clear gap between forward and last defender.

With the aim of producing more open and exciting play leading to more goals hopefully, I, personally, would extend the eighteen yard box out to the sidelines and change the law completely to say offsides can only occur forward of that line. You could have cameras stationed on that extended line on both sides of the pitch.

And so to the only law I believe will always be subjective.

The Foul:- change the interpretation required by the officials. It is a man’s game (and women’s ….ed 🙂 ) with physical contact an integral part. Does the challenge from one player on another constitute one that by its force brought down the player? If so, it is an illegal challenge  and should be penalised. Everything else is the difference between largely honest rugby players and largely cheating footballers.

Does that give you anything to contemplate? Happy contemplating!


50 Responses to Where do you stand with VAR, or perhaps more importantly with the laws of our game?

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, LBG.

    The partial use of VAR for the FA quarters seemed unfair. In the Millwall Brighton game, the first Millwall goal would have been chalked off and a late offside ruling out a Brighton goal changed also. But as there was no VAR ….

    The late offside was virtually impossible for the female lino to get right in real time. Only with the freeze frame of the TV picture could it be correctly assessed.

    Your point about rule changes is interesting. That late VAR Man U pen seemed ridiculous to me. Probably because I don’t understand the handball rule anymore. Personally I wouldn’t like, ‘if it hits the hand or arm it’s a pen’, but that does seem to be the way it’s moving.

    Offside. Not sure about the 18 yard line extension either. It annoys me that when there is a VAR review of an offside, the lines used are drawn at the players’ feet even though the rule says that any part of the body which can score can be offside. With defenders and attackers leaning in opposite directions, this have a massive impact on a decision. I also don’t like the lino’s flags sometimes going up early, sometimes late and sometimes not at all if they know VAR is in operation!

    I 100% agree about the foul. I’d also say that if the attacker has made more of any challenge then it should not be given as a foul in a bid to stamp out the cheating. Penalties seem to decide (or have a crucial effect) on so many games these days. Should we really be putting that much power in the hands of the incompetent refs?

    Thanks for the post. I’ll stop ranting. 🙂

  2. chas says:

    Whoops, back on again.

    Another thing with VAR I don’t like is that real time incidents in a football match look completely different in slow motion.

    Handballs start to look deliberate in ultra slow-mo

    Worst of all is when they slow down a challenge to see if there’s the minutest ‘contact’ (as if that’s a justification for some tart falling over like a felled redwood).
    The very mention of the word ‘contact’ from a pundit when discussing a penalty shout is enough to send me into an apoplectic rage. 🙂

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    VAR. Yes. please.

    However distasteful it may be, the PL is now so International the stadium fans have become insignificant. Does it matter about 3 minutes wait when all at home can see 5 different angles, slo-mo etc?

    Sadly, those days are gone, it is now a TV sport with the stadium fans as bit players in the theatrics.

    An example of this is how clubs and television con the viewer into believing a stadium is full – they rarely are.

    So …

    Handball: The MU decision was a turning point. There has to be clarity and for me that means the arm has to be well away from the body, and the defender has to be unable to get out of the way. I cannot agree with any ball hitting the hand is a foul.

    Offside: As LBG says, daylight between the defender and attacker. Having offside given for a toe in front of the defender seems unfair, it has to be the body.

    Clarity is needed and it cannot be beyond the wit of man to find it.

    I would give reds for feigned facial injuries and yellows for continual team pretendies. The Rennes performance was a disgrace.

    Also, change the rule about retrospective punishments. Post game reds and yellows would help referees.

    More to come after some thought and a cup of coffee

  4. Big Raddy says:

    “contact” 😀 😀

  5. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you LBG. 🙂

    A bit underwhelmed so far, and sceptical as well. Can the corruption move to the decision to ask for VAR? Perhaps ask for it if it is Fergie time ManUre, but ignore if it were some other team like Roma? Just asking.

    But then, I am just a miserable old cynical git. 🙂

  6. Red Arnie says:

    lovely batner todat motning.

    loved the Messi show and the footie money graphic in particular. 🙂

    Kim chippie show close 3rd. 🙂

  7. Big Raddy says:


    Good point about the managers being able to call for a VAR decision. It could work exactly the same as in cricket

  8. Red Arnie says:

    How about providing both teams the option of 2 VAR referrals per game. Plus how many ever the ref wants to ask for.

    Maybe that will make it more of a level playing field. Like in cricket.

  9. Red Arnie says:

    not so much the foul, but it is the penalty that is turning out most contentious in VAR. at the moment, it seems any body contact in the box would be a penalty with VAR.


  10. Red Arnie says:

  11. Red Arnie says:

    RIP Dick Dale

  12. GunnerN5 says:


    A good post on a very topical post, thank you.

    I am 100% behind the use of video replay, I watch both the NFL and NHL where VAR has been in use for many years to determine if specific game decision’s are correct – the officials decision can only be overturned with irrefutable evidence.

    The time taken to reach a decision varies based on the clarity and angle of the evidence but I feel that having to wait a few moments for a verified opinion is preferable to one that is rushed and causes ongoing controversy.

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    Arnie, I hope all is well with you after your recent surgery.

  14. Rasp says:

    Thanks LBG, I’m 100% for VAR, it just needs streamlining and tweaking.

    Again, agree totally that if it’s used in one FA cup game (in any particular round) then it should be used in all

    Maybe it will mean we can do without that twit who officiates behind the goal at CL games and does nothing when he sees the ref blatantly get a decisions wrong!

    Offside is a difficult one … if it’s offside by a gnat’s whisker, no human being could judge it and therefore I think the benefit of the doubt should be given to the attacker.

    I’d like to see after the game reviews for all incorrect decisions whether the ref sees it or not. Deliberate stamps, elbows, diving and general foul play that the ref either hasn’t seen or has underestimated should all be hit with retrospective penalties … and unfair yellow cards should also be rescinded – particularly if there has been a second yellow leading to a red.

  15. RC78 says:

    Great post and Arnie – get well soon 🙂

    Chelsea lost, which is good for us because it puts us 2 points ahead the competition for 4th spot and 1 point behind 3rd spot

    As for the VAR – so far the use of the VAR has not been splendid nor did it get rid of contentious decisions. I like the VAR though and I think it will improve BUT it needs to be more agile. We need a quicker decision and a better one too. We also need to get rid of the referees behind the goals, we have the goal line technology. Let them help the main ref with VAR decisions – it d be better.

    Zidane bought Militao (long term replacement for Ramos) and has already made his main shopping list:
    – Kante
    – Hazard
    – Mane

    Courtois – Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Alonso/Hernandez? – Isco, Kante, Kross – Mane, Benzema, Hazard

    Navas – Carvalaj, Nacho, Militao, Reguilon – Kovacic, Casemiro, Ceballos – Asensio, Aspas/Arnautovic, Vincinius

    Main sales:
    Marcelo (he wants to leave), Modric, Bale, Vazquez

  16. RC78 says:

    And they also have Hakimi and J. Rodriguez loaned out

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    There are 4 types of calls that can be reviewed.

    Goals and whether there was a violation during each episode of the attacking phase of play, such as an offside or a foul

    Penalty decisions (other fouls are not reviewable, except below)

    Direct red card decisions (second yellow cards are not reviewable)

    Mistaken identity in awarding a red or yellow card

    The standard for overturning the referee’s original decision is that there has been a “clear error,” sometimes expanded to “clear and obvious error.”

  18. fred1266 says:

    There was one on the weekend also in Dortmund game the ball it the man in his chest but his hand was there and they gave him a penalty like what he really to do

  19. RC78 says:

    The one for Man Utd against PSG is also more than questionnable…

  20. fred1266 says:

    Gibbs and chamber would be glad to know VAR can be used for mistaken identify

  21. RA says:

    Hi LBG,

    Nice Post.
    You asked me what my reference was, some days ago, when I raised these matters, particularly in respect to the awarding of the non-penalty to Manure when they played PSG.

    If it helps, the following might make clear what has happened, so far, as regards Europe and the Premier League, particularly the ‘trials’ and training for its inception next season.

    Video assistant referees – known as VAR are set to be used in the Premier League next season, after clubs agreed in principle to their introduction.

    The Premier League will now make a formal request to the International Football Association Board and Fifa.

    VAR was used at the 2018 World Cup, and is in operation in Italy and Germany’s top divisions, and has been utilised in some FA Cup and Carabao Cup games in the UK this season.

    The Premier League has been carrying out “non-live” trials this season.

    VAR will also be used in the Champions League from next season.

    In April 2018, Premier League clubs voted against it being used for the 2018-19 season.

    VAR has now been trialled regularly in a “non-live environment” in the Premier League this season, although match officials have not been contacted by those conducting the trials to compare the results of the trials with what the refs awarded.

    Clubs were given a private update recently.

    A statement from the Premier League said its testing programme would continue for the rest of this season “with a continued emphasis on those Saturday afternoons which have several matches being played concurrently”.

    How VAR decisions are communicated to fans in the stadium will also be addressed, as currently no videos are played in the grounds while a decision is being reached — unlike in cricket and rugby union and rugby league where the fans can see what happened according to VAR, and hear how the officials reach their decisions.

    Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live’s Afternoon Edition: “I think it is a good thing. I know a lot of people are against it but we’ve got to embrace it now and move forward.

    “We’ve seen this season a number of incidences that have been called wrong, especially this weekend when there were a number of goals ruled out when they shouldn’t have been.

    “I think as long as we get the training and education right, and we get the right personnel, that’s the most important thing for me.

    “The referees will still want to go out and get the key match decisions right, it’s very important that referees are not hiding behind the VAR – they’re still going to be making these big calls correctly.”

    VAR is strictly limited to 4 types of incident;

    1. Goals – whether they should stand or nor due to potential violations (fouls, offside, etc) in the build-up.

    2. Penalties – if the referee has made the correct decision in either awarding one or not following an incident in the box.

    3. Straight red cards – did an incident on the pitch receive the correct discipline from the referee that it merited?

    4. Mistaken identity – when a referee awards a yellow or red card to the wrong player following an on-field incident.

    IFAB have announced some changes to the Laws of Football, with affect from season 2019/20.

    The biggest changes are in respect of handballs, and the place subbed players have to leave the field of play and the position of the goalkeeper at penalty kicks.

    Here they All are:

    Dropped ball Laws 8 & 9

    •If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper
    •If play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for one player of
    the team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch
    •In all cases, all the other players (of both teams) must be at least 4m (4.5yds) away
    •If the ball touches the referee (or another match official) and goes into the goal,
    team possession changes or a promising attack starts, a dropped ball is awarded

    • The current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is
    ‘exploited’ unfairly (e.g. kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponents’
    half) or an aggressive confrontation. Returning the ball to the team that last played
    it restores what was ‘lost’ when play was stopped, except in the penalty area
    where it is simpler to return the ball to the goalkeeper. To prevent that team gaining
    an unfair advantage, all players of both teams, except the player receiving the ball,
    must be at least 4m (4.5 yds) away.
    •It can be very unfair if a team gains an advantage or scores a goal because the ball
    has hit a match official, especially the referee.

    5 Summary of main Law changes 2019/20

    Free kicks Law 13

    • When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, the attackers are not allowed
    within 1m (1 yd) of the wall; an attacker less than 1m (1yd) from the ‘wall’ when the
    kick is taken will be penalised with an indirect free kick
    • When the defending team takes a free kick in their own penalty area, the ball is in
    play once the kick is taken; it does not have to leave the penalty area before it can
    be played

    • Attackers standing very close to, or in, the defensive ‘wall’ at a free kick often cause
    management problems and waste time. There is no legitimate tactical justification
    for attackers to be in the ‘wall’ and their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’
    and often damages the image of the game.
    • The experiment where, at a defending team free kick in the penalty area, the ball is
    in play once it is kicked and does not have to leave the penalty area, has produced a
    faster and more constructive restart. Opponents must remain outside the penalty
    area and at least 9.15m away until the ball is in play. The same change has been
    made to the goal kick (see Law 16).

    Goal celebrations Law 12

    • A YC for an ‘illegal’ celebration (e.g. removing the shirt) remains even if the goal is disallowed

    Cautions for inappropriate goal celebrations apply even if the goal is disallowed as the
    impact (safety, image of the game etc.) is the same as if the goal was awarded.

    6 Summary of main Law changes 2019/20

    Goal kick Law 16

    • The ball is in play once the kick is taken; it can be played before leaving the penalty

    The experiment that at a goal kick the ball is in play once it is kicked, and does not
    have to leave the penalty area, has created a faster and more dynamic/constructive
    restart to the game. It has reduced the time ‘lost/wasted’ including stopping the tactic
    of ‘wasting’ time when a defender deliberately plays the ball before it leaves the
    penalty area knowing that all that will happen is the goal kick will be retaken.
    Opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play.

    Handball Law 12


    • Deliberate handball remains an offence

    • The following ‘handball’ situations, even if accidental, will be a free kick:

    • (a) the ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player’s hand/arm

    • (b)a player gains control/possession of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity

    • (c) the ball touches a player’s hand/arm which has made their body unnaturally bigger

    • (d) the ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)

    7 Summary of main Law changes 2019/20

    The following will not usually be a free kick, unless they are one of the above situations:

    • (a) the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or
    the head/body/foot of another player who is close/near

    • (b) the ball touches a player’s hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger

    •(c) if a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm when it is between their body and the ground to support the body (but not extended to make the body bigger)

    •(d) If the goalkeeper attempts to ‘clear’ (release into play) a throw-in or deliberate kick from a team-mate but the ‘clearance’ fails, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball


    Greater clarity is needed for handball, especially on those occasions when ‘non-deliberate’ handball is an offence. The re-wording follows a number of principles:

    • football does not accept a goal being scored by a hand/arm (even if accidental)

    • football expects a player to be penalised for handball if they gain possession/control
    of the ball from their hand/arm and gain a major advantage e.g. score or create a
    goal-scoring opportunity

    •it is natural for a player to put their arm between their body and the ground for
    support when falling.

    • having the hand/arm above shoulder height is rarely a ‘natural’ position and a player is ‘taking a risk’ by having the hand/arm in that position, including when

    •if the ball comes off the player’s body, or off another player (of either team) who is close by, onto the hands/arms it is often impossible to avoid contact with the ball

    • When the GK clearly kicks or tries to kick the ball into play, this shows no intention to handle the ball so, if the ‘clearance’ attempt is unsuccessful, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball without committing an offence

    8 Summary of main Law changes 2019/20

    Kick-off Law 8

    • The team that wins the toss can now choose to take the kick-off or which goal to attack (previously they only had the choice of which goal to attack)

    Recent Law changes have made the kick-off more dynamic (e.g. a goal can be scored
    directly from the kick-off) so captains winning the toss often ask to take the kick-off.

    Medical breaks Law 7

    • Difference between ‘cooling’ breaks (90 secs – 3 mins) and ‘drinks’ breaks (max 1 min)

    In the interests of player safety, competition rules may allow, in certain weather conditions (e.g. high humidity and temperatures), ‘cooling’ breaks (from ninety seconds to three minutes) to allow the body’s temperature to fall; they are different from
    ‘drinks’ breaks (maximum one minute) which are for rehydration.

    Penalty kick Law 14

    • The team’s penalty taker can have (quick) treatment/assessment and then take the kick

    • The goalkeeper must not be touching the goalposts/crossbar/nets; they must not be

    • The goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goal line when the kick is taken; he cannot stand behind the line

    9 Summary of main Law changes 2019/20

    •It is unfair if the kicker needs assessment/treatment and then has to leave the field and cannot take the penalty kick.

    • The referee must not signal for the penalty kick to be taken if the goalkeeper is touching the goalposts, crossbar or net, or if they are moving e.g. the goalkeeper has kicked/shaken them

    • Goalkeepers are not permitted to stand in front of or behind the line. Allowing the goalkeeper to have only one foot touching the goal line (or, if jumping, in line with the goal line) when the penalty kick is taken is a more practical approach as it is easier to identify if both feet are not on the line. As the kicker can ‘stutter’ in the run, it is reasonable that the goalkeeper can take one step in anticipation of the kick.

    Players’ equipment Law 4

    • Multi-coloured/patterned undershirts are allowed if they are the same as the sleeve of the main shirt

    Manufacturers now make patterned undershirts whose sleeves are the same as the
    main shirt sleeve; these should be allowed as they help match officials’ decision-making.

    Quick free kick and YC/RC Law 12

    •If the referee is about to issue a YC/RC but the non-offending team takes the free kick quickly and creates a goal-scoring opportunity, the referee can delay the YC/RC until the next stoppage if the offending team was not distracted by the referee

    10 Summary of main Law changes 2019/20

    Occasionally, an attack is stopped by a cautionable (YC) or sending-off (RC) offence and the attacking team takes a quick free kick which restores the ‘lost’ attack; it is clearly ‘unfair’ if this ‘new’ attack is stopped to issue the YC/RC.
    However, if the referee has distracted the offending team by already starting the YC/RC procedure, the quick free kick is not allowed.
    For a DOGSO offence, the player will be cautioned (YC) and not sent-off
    (RC) because the attack was re-started (as when advantage is applied for a DOGSO

    Substitutes Law 3

    • A player who is being substituted must leave the field by the nearest point on the touchline/goal line (unless the referee indicates the player can leave quickly/immediately at the halfway line or a different point because of safety, injury etc.)

    To stop a player who is being substituted ‘wasting’ time by leaving slowly at the halfway line (which is not a Law requirement) the player must leave at the nearest point (as with an injury) unless the referee indicates otherwise, e.g. if the player can
    leave quickly at the halfway line, there is a safety/security issue or the player leaves
    on a stretcher. The player must go immediately to the technical area or dressing room to avoid problems with substitutes, spectators, or the match officials. A player who infringes the spirit of this Law should be sanctioned for unsporting behaviour i.e.
    delaying the restart of play.

    11 Summary of main Law changes 2019/20

    Team officials Laws 5 & 12


    • A team official guilty of misconduct will be shown a YC (caution) or RC (sending-off)*; if the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach who is in the technical area at the time will receive the YC/RC

    * Law 12 will have a list of YC/RC offences

    The experiment with YC/RC for misconduct by team officials has been successful and has revealed many benefits at all levels, including for young referees dealing with ‘difficult’ adult coaches.
    If the offender cannot be identified, the senior team official (usually the main coach) in the technical area will receive the YC/RC (as the person responsible for the other team officials).

    Just a few little changes, it is claimed.

    [Worth printing a copy to stop the inevitable blogger quarrels?] 🤪

  22. RA says:

    I did not know that Arnie had had an operation – maybe we were in the same hospital?

    Well there are only about 170 hospital trusts! 🥺

    What was the problem Arnie?Not the first male pregnancy? That would have made you into a must-millionaire!! 😋

  23. RA says:

    I think you will realise, Arnie that ‘must” = multi.

    Anyone else noticed auto-correct being consistently naughty. Them there robots are rebelling. 🥺

  24. allezkev says:

    It’ll take time but eventually the officials should get quicker with being able to come to definitive decisions with the aid of VAR.

    I’d keep it, as much as possible, to those decisions that are black and white initially, it’s a bit more problematic when it’s how a referee interpreted a situation like deliberate handball or not, unless we want defenders running around with their hands behind their backs in the box all the time.
    But for me VAR is progress.

  25. LBG says:

    RA 3.29
    Thanks for all that effort.
    “More clarity is needed for handball”……..well I’m sorry, if that is clearer…….
    Thanks all for efforts in reading the Post. Must admit still believe a radical approach is required with several of the laws, and have little regard for the “messing around” they will be doing for next season.
    VAR will correct the odd injustice, but will make many of our poorer referees even bigger “Z Celebrities”. Mike Dean will love it, and will still not be required to apologise when he gets it wrong, or be demoted to irritate second division fans!

  26. RA says:

    Hi AK,

    One of the things specifically said, when these Law changes were being announced, is that defenders should not feel they have to put their hands behind their backs to avoid ‘giving away’ penalties as it was not right.

    So if, within the Law changes I showed above, [natural position of the hands/arms etc,] and with no deliberate intention of gaining an unfair advantage, then there is no need for them to continue running around like zombies with their appendages tucked behind their backs.

    [OK, my words, not those of the International Football Association Board’s — but pretty much the gist of their view.] 😁

    The current downside is that, this season, so far there have been some very questionable decisions made as a result of subjective refereeing interpretations — but, eventually, as mistakes are made and then discussed, the refs will eventually all start to sing from the same song sheet.


  27. GunnerN5 says:

    RA, you outdid yourself with your 3:29 post – you may now own the record for the longest posted comment on AA.

    I copied and saved it for future reference.

  28. RA says:


    Personally, I saw nothing wrong with the original ‘offside’ rules, but football is not just sport nowadays, it’s ‘entertainment’ don’t you know.

    Apparently the offside’ Laws were changed to encourage more goalscoring – it’s what the fans wanted apparently, and its tough if they rarely know what is going on with the current Laws, IFAB want more goals still, so they are going to change them again.

    Take the Kane (offisde/penalty) nonsense, with all the Bow Locks about being in an offside position but not active (every fucker on the pitch is active for goodness sake) until he moved his ass, and was ‘fouled’ when he became active, and the wind was tickling his jaxie, then that is what the fans want it seems.

    Really? I don’t know anyone – who is not a Spuds fan – understanding how that happened, let alone wanted it.

    VAR will not change that — but I still feel that it will be for the ‘greater good’ in due course, like the goal line technology which has take away the controversy as to ‘was it over – no it wasn’t – oh, yes it was’ rhubarb.

  29. RA says:

    Hi ya, GN5.

    I think Rasp might disagree with you on the longest comment — I have produced some zingers in my 9 years or so on AA — despite all my best efforts to pass the buck/blame onto that longwinded camel man, aka GoonerB.

    But he does write some good stuff!! 😳

    Actually, in a similar vein, if I may say so, your Posts are always well written and packed with substance and stats and reward us readers with previously unknown facts! Classy.

    Anyway, I need to get some rest, so until the morrow, my friend.

  30. GunnerN5 says:

    Detractors will always be around but in order to have improvement in the final decision changes must occur.

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    Take care of yourself RA.

  32. omgarsenal says:

    I was a professional referee and linesman for 8 years and retired from officiating two years ago, so I have seen at least 4 major revisions to the Laws from when I first started officiating in the 60’s. Your article is interesting in that it highlights the confusion in how the laws are applied and interpreted, and what VAR is meant to do. VAR (Video assistant referee) is designed to ¨assist¨ the officials (particularly the referee who is the final arbiter of any decision on and off the field) in judging more effectively, the incident being reviewed. It is not designed to overrule the official, to contradict his or her decision nor to highlight an official’s failing(s). It is simply a tool, like the flag, the assistants, the corner posts etc., It will aid the official in making a fair and correct call. We desperately need VAR to augment the officials power to make the right and fair call in all circumstances.

    As far as the Laws go, here is my opinion about what they were meant to do and not do;

    1) Hand ball always was about intentionally handling the ball, other than the keeper in his or her area. Officials are very well trained to recognize intentional versus accidental contact by the hand with the ball (arm from the shoulder joint to the tip of the index finger). Punishing a player who is hit in the arm by a hard hit ball, when his or her arm is in a normal playing position is pointless, unfair and will lead, as the writer pointed out, to gamesmanship and cheating …therefore it is a foolish idea and should be discarded.

    2) The offside is more problematic.and has never been well thought out since its inception. That said, I have seen experiments with static offside limiting lines and there is some merit to that idea. Here is where VAR can really help. An overhead camera covering a static line could absolutely aid the assistants in their most important duty. The referee cannot accurately call offside even if he or she is right in line with the players so i agree with a simplification of this most torturous law.

    3) Fouls are no longer called based on the officials ¨divining¨ intent, and that is very reasonable as we aren’t mind readers. However simulation has become a curse and an ¨ black art¨ and is the most dire of all the cheating behaviour infesting the game today. I remember discussing this aspect with a WC referee and we both agreed that a player simulating should receive an automatic red card but the Laws don’t permit this (yet?)…..Officials are very good at identifying violent conduct and serious foul play but it is harder to call excess force and subtle charges in the back, etc. I don’t see a need for many changes in the Laws but perhaps a refinement.

    The officials principle duty is to ensure the firm,fair and excellent prosecution of the game and the absolute protection of the players. It is in the second instance that ,as officials, we have a harder row to hoe, as a serious injury can occur despite our best intentions and efforts. The game is not just a man’s or woman’s game, it is supposed to be secure,enjoyable and played in a spirit of fairness, honesty and respect for the opponents, fellow players and the officials, as well as any crowd that is watching. Anything else brings the game into disrepute and is a shameful rupture with the original spirit of the beautiful game.

  33. fred1266 says:

    Marc Overmars has ended speculation linking him with a return to Arsenal by extending his contract at Ajax through to June 2024.

    The Gunners are searching for a technical director and reportedly turned attention to their former winger after missing out on Monchi, who opted to reunite with Sevilla following a spell at Roma.

    Overmars appeared to be a strong alternative, having overseen the emergence of Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and more since being appointed director of football at Ajax in 2012.

    The 45-year-old spent three seasons with the Gunners during his playing career and represented Netherlands at two World Cups.

    “There are still plenty of challenges at Ajax and I’m having a good time here,” said Overmars.

    “We are taking steps with both the youth academy and the first team. From a sporting point of view, we still want to show a lot.

    “What is also important to me is that it is nice to work with the people around me. I get pleasure and satisfaction from that.”

    Arsenal parted ways with head of recruitment Sven Mislintat in February.

  34. LBG says:

    Saw this today very early. Confirmed tonight, Totteringham are trying to get agreement to change name of White Hart Lane Overground Station to Tottenham Hotspurs……………rather than my choice…Shite Hart Lane!

  35. LB says:

    “player simulating should receive an automatic red card but the Laws don’t permit this (yet?)”

    I do like this idea…………….

    Thanks for the read.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    OMG. That is a cracking comment. Thank you

  37. LBG says:

    Omgarsenal 5.19
    Very interested in your professional opinion and hope I have not significantly slagged you off in the past in my ” interpretation” of officials decisions in past game at Highbury and the Emirates.
    “Merely a tool” ……but interpreted initially by other referees and referred.
    Do you also believe that ” the final arbiter” will go against the referral by VAR given the repetition of the incident he will know the VAR panel will have witnessed before referring back to him?
    May get back ‘re’ some of your other comment.

  38. LBG says:

    “Spirit of fairness”…..that is the point of my last sentence. Fairness and true sportsmanship has largely disappeared from the game. Anything goes is encouraged by Managers, pundits, ex, so- called, professionals, and most players believe in the maxim.
    Red cards for confirmed immediate simulation, BUT will this be referred?

  39. LBG says:

    What do you think of the phrase “professional foul” and how it should be punished……..orange card?

  40. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you, GN5, RC, Redders et al. 🙂 3 years wait for the surgery, now long recovery back to whereever possible. Good news is a bit more time on AA, I hope.

    Some excellent blogging today. Some of it too technical for me, nevertheless quite enjoyable. 🙂

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Haven’t had a bus for a couple of weeks and in this time of non-football,a bus could relieve the boredom.

  42. chas says:

    Can you spot Cilla?

  43. chas says:


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