VAR is poisonous and it's sucking the life out of football

VAR is sucking the life out of football, its unnecessary complexities are choking the colour from the sport’s complexion.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 8:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 8:30 am
Burnley striker Chris Wood mocks VAR with his goal celebration against West Ham United

The roll-out of a system that should be black and white in its decision-making process is carrying too many distortions. There are simply too many grey areas.

There's certainly more bad than good stemming from the manner in which football's latest innovation is being operated and, in its current state, it's difficult to see a way back.

From the manipulation of different angles to arrive at a desired offside decision, the irregularity in times to clarify similar incidents to muting goal celebrations.

Football is unrecognisable in its current guise. The goalposts are moving every week. An incident that might be considered handball one week will be different the next.

The perimeters that dictate whether a penalty should be awarded appear to be interchangeable. And the term 'clear and obvious' has now become obsolete.

John Lundstram was offside by a toenail at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Several minutes of investigation should, itself, conclude that referee Graham Scott hadn't made a glaring error.

If it's required for an official to morph in to a Greek philosopher when analysing an incident then common sense should prevail. Pythagoras would be turning in his grave when the rulers were brandished at Stockley Park.

It was the same situation when Chris Wood - who had a goal controversially wiped out against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium - thought he'd put Burnley 2-0 up against West Ham United.

The build-up was dissected, lines were drawn from one man's limb to another, guess-work was required when measuring the position of Ryan Fredericks' boot.

And, all the while, supporters housed inside Turf Moor, who pay good money to watch their team week in week out, didn't have a clue what was going on or what was being discussed.

Cheers were silenced, indecipherable murmurings took prominence and, in the end, when a decision had been reached, the carnival that ensued from a small pocket of the stadium just out-weighed the moans, groans and boos projected by the home fans.

The New Zealander did go on to bag his fifth goal of the campaign but, even then, celebrations from the stands were subdued and the goalscorer, joined by Republic of Ireland international Jeff Hendrick, had a hesitant glance at the big screen, just in case.

Ashley Westwood, with a helping hand from Spanish goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez, put the game out of sight of the Hammers in the second half.

As is standard procedure now the goal was checked, the atmosphere dipped again as Kevin Friend awaited word in his ear from Lee Mason, and, though the conclusion was a positive one on this occasion, the reaction was more a sense of relief than euphoria.

Back to the capital - where George Baldock recorded his first ever Premier League goal with the equaliser against Spurs.

What should have been one of the best and most memorable moments of the Blades' defender's life was marked by a half-hearted and underwhelming fist pump, owing to further checks that took the shine off his milestone.

It's galling to see, especially when just over 24 hours later, in the game between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield, it took around 10 seconds to determine similar scenarios.

At this moment in time there are so many questions being asked in relation to this technological mess, but we don't seem to be getting many answers.

All we're asking for is clarification, for football to return to its wonderful simplicity, and for our love of the beautiful game to be restored.

The implementation of all-seater stadia had already drained the energy that once emanated from the terraces, but that was a necessity on the grounds of safety.

This is a novelty that is stifling everything good about the game. It's an imperfection that will soon force once die-hard fans to watch the games from the comfort of their own homes, where they'll be kept up-to-date with every VAR review.