VAR - as clear as mud

Published: Monday, 12 August 2019

I promised myself during the summer that I wouldn’t get involved this season in the various VAR controversies and, as far as I can, I intend for that to be the case. Regulars know my feelings about it - and they’re not going to change. Those that have created this mess now need to get on and sort it out.

But - I’ve got to say this. Under no circumstances can we allow the game in our country to be refereed from ‘the office’. It is absolutely ridiculous that match defining decisions are being decided by studio technicians and - in effect - a 5th official. It also flies in the face of IFAB (The International Football Association Board) regulations that clearly state that VAR should be nothing more than ‘an aid to the match referee’. ‘An aid’. What’s hard to understand about that?

In every other country now using VAR the match referee will consult a pitch side monitor to make the final call on - in effect - matters of opinion. I don’t like VAR - I don’t want it - but I accept that we’ve got it - so let’s use it properly.

It is beyond comprehension that our officials have been told not to use the monitor - that decisions will be made for them from the VAR bunker. It’s unacceptable.

What a mug Andre Marriner must feel - having awarded Wolves a perfectly good goal at the weekend - only for Jon Moss - in his office- to rule it out 98 seconds later. It’s madness. Ok - Moss believed he’d seen an offence. Tell Marriner - let him go to the monitor to see if he agrees. If he does - fine. But the match day ref HAS to have the final say. It just isn’t good enough for those calls to be made any other way. It flies in the face of protocol. It’s wrong. There’s no other way to put it. UEFA or FIFA - whichever of those ruling bodies it falls to - should be on the phone to Mike Riley today and insist he instruct our officials to follow the same protocol as every other league and competition in the world.

This arrogance - always believing that ‘we’ - the English - know best is why we are so deeply disliked around the world. I have nothing more to say about VAR other than the B-A-R needs to be raised. And quick.

As for the football - it was business as usual for City. I couldn’t believe the ease with which they blew West Ham away. I honestly expected more from the Hammers.

Liverpool won at a canter didn’t they? For 45 minutes they were fantastic. At their best they’re a joy to watch.

Villa had a good go at Spurs before finally succumbing. And I’m so relieved that we won’t be talking about August being an unlucky month for Harry Kane! He’s scored in August already!!

I thought there were some really positive signs for United. Quite literally, they looked like their old selves in a proper United kit. I hated those black shorts. Solskjaer will be cautious about what he saw, but it was enormously encouraging.

Arsenal didn’t have to do a lot. Most pleasing for Unai Emery will be the clean sheet I imagine. There wasn’t much of a threat, but they were solid and with Aubameyang around you’ve always got a chance.

It’s not really fair to make too many judgements on one weekend, but it’s Chelsea that should be most concerned.

I desperately want Frank Lampard to do well, but he’s got a bigger job on than I’d first thought.

Chelsea were neat and tidy - no more. They didn’t really lay a glove on United. They were ‘nice’. I don’t believe anyone is expecting them to finish in the top 4, but I’m not sure if they’re even going to make top 6. To me they looked like an ordinary mid-table team.

Lampard’s biggest problem has to be that there nothing he can do about it. He’s going to have to work with what he’s got. In too many areas they looked lightweight - not least up top. Again, let’s not to too quick to judge Tammy Abraham, but he simply doesn’t look like a Chelsea player. Not a Chelsea player from the ‘power’ years. And has anyone seen sight of Roman Abramovic? I honestly think he’s given up on them and if that’s the case then it’s all over at The Bridge - unless Abramovich can find an equally rich buyer to hand the club onto. As for that new stadium - forget it. It won’t happen.

If they do fall away - who’s going to fill the gap? I still fancy Leicester, despite an ordinary day out on Sunday. There’s no reason now why West Ham shouldn’t be thinking that way - and after another big summer spend Everton should as well - but they also look light at the top end.

Last word to Brendan Rodgers ‘some weeks VAR will work for you - others it won’t’. Really? Why do we need it then? Isn’t that what we used to say about refereeing decisions?

You know - time was we used to judge a good ref on how little we’d noticed him. Somehow the officials have now elevated themselves into the most important people at a match. Damn - and I said I wouldn’t mention VAR again. 😂😂