Dubai: One Manchester City fan put it best during Wednesday’s Premier League win over Everton when he held up a sign that read ‘RIP Football. VAR is here. Fans Boycott?’ after the video assistant referee system again came in for criticism.
Both City and Everton supporters were vocal in their criticism of VAR and there could be a rebellion in the stands against the authorities if things don’t change.
In the 2-1 City win alone there were three lengthy VAR delays (one correct, one marginal and one blatantly wrong), meaning players and fans have to stand and wait for a farcical amount of time instead of getting on with the action.
Phil Foden thought he had opened the scoring, only for it to be ruled out for offside by the men in the video room. The youngster later admitted it was embarrassing to celebrate a goal only to see it chalked off more than five minutes later.
Not long after that reversal, the game ground to a halt again to go to the technology ‘gurus’. Riyad Mahrez was denied a penalty by VAR — again for offside — despite the replays showing he was onside.
City demonstrated their unhappiness with a silent protest of sorts, refusing to celebrate either of their goals from Gabriel Jesus until the match had fully restarted.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was the same situation as Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish’s early strike against Burnley was chalked off after a lengthy VAR review determined that a millimetre of striker Wesley’s shoe was offside in the build-up. This is not the first time a joke of a decision has interfered in a Premier League match since VAR was introduced at the start of the season.
Fortunately for Dean Smith’s side the decision did not prove too costly, as Villa went on to beat Burnley 2-1.
It has been repeated that these decisions will even themselves out over a period of time, as all clubs have suffered at the hands of ridiculous decisions at one time or another, but they are ruining the game and it is the fans who are suffering the most.
Not to miss out on a rant, Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho launched a tirade at VAR after Spurs’ defeat to Southampton, saying remote officials have more power than on-field referees over big match decisions.
Spurs lost 1-0 at Southampton with Danny Ings grabbing the only goal but Mourinho was raging over a foul on midfielder Dele Alli inside the box in the first half that was not assessed by VAR.
“For me the referees are not the referees,” Mourinho said. “I think the VAR should change their name because Video Assistant Referee is not true. It should be VR — Video Referee — because they are the referees.
“You see the refs on pitch and they not the refs, they are the assistants. The other guys in the office are the ones who make the big decisions. What I know is the Dele Alli penalty was a penalty and the VAR didn’t interfere.”
“The direction it is taking us in is really, really wrong.”
Brighton 1 Chelsea 1
Burnley 1 Aston Villa 2
Newcastle 0 Leicester 3
Southampton 1 Tottenham 0
Watford 2 Wolves 1
Manchester City 2 Everton 1
Norwich 1 Palace 1
West Ham 4 Bournemouth 0
Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0