VAR shambles is now a full blown crisis

Published: Monday, 30 December 2019

Well you can’t say I didn’t warn you. And what was simply a shambles has become a full blown crisis. Mike Riley and his team of half trained amateurs are reducing the best league in the world to a laughing stock. VAR is not working. It hasn’t brought anything positive to the game. It won’t. It can’t.

Riley continues to puff his chest out trying to convince us all that VAR has been an unprecedented success. That only four wrong calls have been made all season. Forgive me - every time I mention that ridiculous claim I fall about laughing. Hold on.....I’ll be back.

Ok. That’s better. Four mistakes? Please. There’s very nearly four in every game.

What is the point of VAR - or VR as I call it? It is VR. We have ‘video refs’. They make all the big calls in the Stockley Park bunker. It’s nonsense.

This is something else I’ve been banging on about - to the point of almost total boredom. Now, it seems, the penny has dropped. I messaged four different PL managers this weekend who all agreed that I’d been correct on this all along. Then Nuno Espirito Santo said exactly the same thing. And Klopp. Stop it. It’s ridiculous. Still we’re the only league in the world operating like this. Why? So Riley can have full control of all the decisions making? And on that basis he should take full responsibility for the mess and quit. I’ve said this before as well. He simply has to go. Only then will we have a chance of sorting this mess out.

I call his VR watchers ‘amateurs‘ because that’s exactly what they are. I’ve spent 35 years watching football on tv - working with the best ever - Andy Gray. He’s still the best. He was the first talking about 25 frames/second therefore proving that the technology can’t be accurate. Which frame do we use to check off-side? The one when the ball is on the foot? The one as it leaves? You become used to watching the game differently when you’ve been at it as long as we have. Every time the PGMOL trot out some nonsense to justify a decision we can prove them wrong. I wouldn’t expect to be given a whistle and to ref a game. That’s for experts. Leave watching tv pictures to experts. You can’t ref a game from screens.

What about these daft lines they put on to ‘prove’ players are off-side? They’re not accurate. They can’t be. The technology isn’t that good - even the PGMOL accept that there’s got to be a ‘margin of error’ and yet they fail to factor that in when trying to find a reason to disallow another goal because an arm pit, a toe or a long nose is offside. That’s not why VAR was brought in. It was to correct things that were obviously wrong - like Willy Boly’s handball goal at Molineux last season. Like Henry’s in the WC qualifier against Ireland. Things that hadn’t been seen in real time. When Gianni Infantino tried to tell me Maradona’s goal would’ve been ruled out by VAR my response was - ‘it should’ve been anyway. The only two people in the stadium that didn’t see it were the lino and the ref. Or perhaps they did see it and ignored it?’ He didn’t like that, but it’s true. Ask any England player on the pitch that day if that’s how they felt and I’m sure they’ll tell you ‘yes’.

We’ve now seen 31 goals ruled out by the ‘anti-goals Police’ this season - 21 of them for ‘offside’. It’s complete madness. Scoring goals is what teams work at doing. Goals are what we pay to see. We should be looking for reasons to give them. There are some ‘pundits’ that remain convinced we need VAR and believe it’s working. ‘The lines prove players are offside. And what’s the alternative?’ Simple. Do as MLS does - use the naked eye. If a player is obviously offside we shouldn’t need VAR - but it’s not going away now - so use the naked eye. Give the forward back the age old view that he/she should have the advantage of ‘doubt’.

We at #beINSPORTS have led the way on VAR discussions - from our original warnings that it would add nothing to the game - right through this weekend when a fully blown crisis evolved.

Where is Richard Masters, the ‘by default’ new MD of the PL? He hasn’t muttered a word. Is he too scared? Is he not able to because his predecessor Richard Scudamore, who once talked of ‘big titted broads and gash’, is still hanging about protecting his man Riley? Not a word. The silence is deafening.

All over the world people are asking ‘what’s happening in the PL?’ What was once the ‘greatest’ league in the world has been reduced to laughing stock. Is that what we want? Really?

We can’t even celebrate goals anymore. How sad that it was Klopp that admitted he doesn’t bother. This can’t be right.

The decision makers are too proud to admit they got it wrong, so VAR - or our version VR - will stay. But they’ve got to sort this mess out. Oh - if you think I’m a smart arse because I called it - don’t listen to me - read Mssrs Halsey and Hackett. They’re the only two calling it as it is because they’re not on the PGMOL payroll. The rest are all paid patsies. They do as they’re told.

I can’t believe I’ve spent all this time venting - so how about we talk about the football?

Welcome back David Moyes, although how West Ham have got the bare faced cheek to invite him back I don’t know. They dumped all over him 18 months ago. Dig the blog out that I wrote then and check out the abuse West Ham fans poured all over me. I’m not going to say it - but......

What a job Nigel Pearson is doing. I’ll repeat last week’s prediction - he’ll get Watford out. Those falling into danger would appear to be Bournemouth, where Eddie Howe has so far got away with blowing a fortune for no return - but, of course, he plays the game the ‘right way’, so that’s ok. No. Pearson does. He wins games.

Brighton also play the ‘right way’ now. But be careful down there. I want Villa out of the drop zone. They’re a ‘proper’ club and the league needs them. Norwich will go. I’ve said that all along.

Anyway - have a great New Year. My resolution? To keep calling for Mike Riley to go. Join me. We want our game back.