VAR will not take us to utopia

Published: Monday, 01 May 2017

Let's start with a few positives from the weekend - and I agree, there weren't too many! I repeat what I've previously tweeted - I love watching Spurs right now. There isn't a more attractive team in the Premier League. I sat with Graeme Souness this weekend (Graeme was with us on BeINSports) and he said 'this is the best Spurs team I've seen'. I couldn't agree more.  I hope they win the title but let me quickly add that I really don't CARE who does. The best 'team' will. It always does. And despite the vicious abuse I get on Twitter - it's not going to affect my life whichever team does. Honestly - I don't care - as usual, I will applaud whoever does.

The only reason I say that I hope Spurs win it is because I think Tim Sherwood might be right. Tim told us on beINSports that he doesn't believe Spurs can win the title playing at Wembley. His argument is that it's not a fortress like White Hart Lane. If Spurs' European experiences are anything to go by this season he's got a point hasn't he? And if they take time adjusting to their new stadium this squad might not be together long enough to win it. That would be a shame.

Anyway, Chelsea were top class weren't they? The win at Goodison was a real statement. They're not 'easy on the eye' like Spurs, but they're 'efficient' and very, very good. A small observation - never mind Kante or Hazard as Player of the Year - what about Gary Cahill? He's been enormous - at both ends - this season. He's adapted to the new system - he's succeeded John Terry in every respect - he fronts up, win, lose or draw - he's a warrior. He won't win the award of course, because Fleet Street tends to go for popular or obvious - unless they're voting for Scott Parker - in the year West Ham went down! Well - apart from Crossy, they all support The Hammers, so perhaps no surprise there!

Now to the unsavoury. Marcus Rashford - sorry, the dive was poor. The kid should be banned now for the rest of the season. We HAVE to stop that kind of thing happening. Oh, and you can put Leroy Sane on the list as well. Both players 'conned' the officials. I don't blame Neil Swarbrick for buying Rashford's dive, his angle wasn't great, but Kevin Friend has NO excuses - he was looking directly at the incident.

Before I get into responding to all of you that have been screaming at me for VAR - watch this. Oh for the day's of integrity and honesty.

Brilliant eh? You would NEVER have caught one of Cloughie's players taking a dive. He wouldn't allow it. So why do we now? What would be wrong with Mourinho pulling Rashford into his office today and TELLING him - 'never again'? Cloughie was also right about football coverage - it's how we set out to cover it at Sky - informative and educational - not dictatorial and constantly looking for trouble. Cherish the game - it looks after us all very well - I've said this before - accentuate the positive.  Oh, I thought a very young John Motson stood his ground very well, didn't you?

And so to VAR - let me repeat something else I've often said 'be careful what you wish for'. Watch this mess from Australia this past weekend - then I'll carry on.

What a shambles - and they even ended up with the wrong decision - it should've been disallowed for offside - in 'moving to the ball' the centre-forward made himself 'active'. Simple - offside.  

What about the fuss that followed - from both teams? And they even kicked off in between the goal and calling for VAR - what would've happened in that period of time had someone snapped a player in total frustration? Would the red card have been rescinded? What about the injured player? No - VAR is taking us down a road I don't want to go. It is NOT going to be the utopia many argue it will be.

I was against goal-line technology NOT because it might not be useful, but because the price for its 'usefulness' was too great. I always said it would lead to our game being dominated by video refs. Of course there will be occasions when VAR clears up an incident - Rashford's dive this weekend for example - but the price for implementing it is too high for me. It's going to cause chaos and change football forever - but NOT for the better.

Implement changes elsewhere - drum home messages of fair play to young cheats - and if they don't listen - hammer them hard. I would much prefer that to the muddied thinking on VAR and 'jobs for the boys' - retired refs who've got better and better the longer they've been retired!