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

March 18, 2019

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!

LBG