(Photo Credit/Source- Sky Sports)
VAR was the main talking point of last night’s Carabao Cup Semi-Final first leg between Tottenham and Chelsea. However in this opinion piece I will explore how we can avoid some of the controversy which arose yesterday due to VAR .
The controversy came when Harry Kane was awarded a penalty kick in the 23rd minute of the Carabao Cup Semi-final yesterday which ended up as a 1-0 victory for Tottenham, thanks to the forward’s match-winning finish from the penalty spot as a result of this decision.
Kane was tripped up by Kepa in the first half of the clash at Wembley Stadium, prompting referees to review the sequence.
There were questions over whether Kane was offside on the play but, after seeing the video from the angle that we saw on TV, the referees awarded a penalty.
However after the game, Sarri saw another angle provided by Chelsea and it clearly showed Kane to be Offside as his upper half of his body was offside from Chelsea’s angle that Sarri saw before conducting his post match interview.
(Photo Credit/Source- The Express)
This is what Sarri said in his interview to Sky Sports after the game;
“A few minutes ago I watched the video from our camera. It was offside. Our camera was in line with Harry Kane.
“Offside with the head, the knee. Offside. It was really important the linesman carried on running, he had a big impact on our defenders.
However was Chelsea’s angle misleading to Sarri? Well according to the Journalist Paul Brown on twitter @pbsportswriter, the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) this morning have ruled the decision awarded in last night’s 1st leg tie as correct, even though Sarri and Chelsea disagree.
So maybe the right decision was given in the end, but it did cause alot of controversy. On the other hand, alot of people on social media still argue that the VAR should have not overturned the offside decision. This issue will split many people, but VAR is meant to make the right decision to end the controversy. So it can be argued that the system isn’t doing it’s job properly at this moment.
And even Pochettino was critical about VAR after the game, despite it working in his team’s favour;
“To get the benefit is nice but I am unhappy to win the game like this.
“We all have to agree – the players, the coaching staff. I watch La Liga every week and nobody is happy, the big clubs and the small clubs. If you are playing to win the title or to stay up, nobody is happy.
“That is a good example for us. We have six months to improve the system and there is a lot of work to do.”
(Photo Credit/Source- Hindustan Times)
So what work is needed to be done to VAR in order for it to be ready for next season?
1. The time it takes to make the decision needs to be quicker
It wasn’t so apparent in last nights game, but it still took a good minute and a half to two minutes for the offside decision to be overturned, and some would even say incorrectly so this is one issue with VAR that needs to be addressed.
The way for it to be addressed is for the VAR referee’s to find an effective way to make the decision process quicker, as sometimes the rhythm can be disturbed in the game as the game turns into a stop start game.
This was shown clearly in the first game that VAR was tested in England between Liverpool and West-Brom in the FA Cup last season which ended in a surprise 2-3 win to West-Brom. However the game was dominated by controversy surrounding VAR.
The VAR in the game gained alot of negative publicity , as alot of decisions were reviewed by the VAR on that day, and the time it took to make the right decision disrupted the flow of the game.
The way that it can be improved without any major work is by letting the crowd know what is going on. This would be done by showing the footage at what VAR referees are looking at so that they know why there is a delay in the game. And i can guarantee that if the crowd are allowed to see what is going on. they could compromise the time issue of VAR.
Football may need to take a Rugby approach. In Rugby the crowd in the stadium can see what is being reviewed, and as a result is seen in a better light in that sport compared to Football.
2. We need to distinguish the clear roles of the referee and the linesman with VAR
This issue is perfectly summarised by @younesshh on twitter.
Do the linesman and referee’s have important roles now on the football pitch with the introduction of VAR? Do we even need them anymore?
This is also a clear issue that divide many people.
3. The Linesman role can affect the players on the pitch
This was clear in yesterdays match between Tottenham and Chelsea, when Kane was played through by the long ball over the top of Chelsea’s defence.
The whole Chelsea backline looked over at the linesman and stopped as they saw the linesman raise the flag for offside.
Furthermore, that could have confused Kepa in the goal who rushed out and fouled Kane as a result of the confusion.
So is that the linesman’s fault, or should have Chelsea players played to the whistle?
In Robbie Keane’s opinion, he thought that the Chelsea players were at fault for not playing to the whistle. He also pointed out on Sky Sports yesterday that Kepa had his eyes on Kane at all times.
Paul Brown on twitter agreed with Keane and thinks that the players needed to play to the whistle;
But the issue of the linesman role tied in with VAR needs to be cleared up as some players can be confused. And this was arguably shown by Kepa yesterday when he brought down Kane for the penalty.
4. Multiple Camera angles are needed to be looked at by VAR
This was demonstrated clearly in yesterday’s match. Sky Sports showed us one angle that VAR were looking at to show that Kane was onside.
However the angle that Chelsea looked at suggested that Kane’s upper half of his body was offside. So VAR need to look at all angles rather than one to make an informed decision. But Paul Brown doesn’t think that this is possible;
However, this can all be sorted in my opinion by having multiple cameras in the stadium so that VAR can look at multiple angles to make a decision, rather than just looking at one single angle like sky sports did.
This would also avoid the issue that happened yesterday where Chelsea showed Sarri another angle. If VAR looks at all angles then this issue can be sorted.
Summary and what my verdict is on VAR
Perfect summary of VAR on twitter by @tovers98;
I think that if the four points are addressed above, then VAR will be effective in the Premier League next year. Also if the four points are addressed above then this could reduce some of the controversy towards VAR.
VAR is necessary to take the injustice out of the game in my opinion. However some people may argue that it takes the talking points out of the game. Well it hasn’t done that so far…
I do think VAR is needed, but overall it needs to be operated in football in a similar fashion to rugby in order for it to be effective.
Also comment down below your thoughts on VAR. Did VAR make the right decision yesterday? Also are you looking forward to the introduction of VAR in the League?
By Danyal Khan