After a dramatic VAR ending at the Etihad on Saturday, do the Sunday Supplement pundits support the new system?
Gabriel Jesus’ last-minute winner against Tottenham on Saturday Night Football was ruled out after a VAR review which spotted an accidental Aymeric Laporte handball in the build-up.
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The decision brought into question the pros and cons of VAR in only its second weekend in the Premier League – and on the Sunday Supplement it brought up a range of opinions on its merits…
Sam Wallace – ‘In the stadium, it doesn’t work’
It’s dominating at the moment. It’s the biggest single change to the laws in a generation and there’s going to be an effect felt by people watching in the stadium. There’s a feeling that the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) feel that it’s gone quite well. As you would’ve seen from the introductory videos Alan Shearer has done, there’s this phrase ‘high bar of intervention’, they want to have a light touch and not intervene unless it’s unavoidable.
I was at West Ham last week and Manchester City yesterday, both big VAR decisions, and they feel they were correct. Unfortunately, in both cases VAR is right and got it correct, but the law will have to be changed. It’s a totally different experience watching on TV than in the stadium. In the stadium, I just don’t think it works. The celebrations die, the spell is broken. Michael Oliver is drawing a TV in the air with his fingers, waiting for an unseen hand to make a decision.
There were a few City fans in front of me yesterday and were really celebrating, a pair of glasses went up in the air, someone was wearing someone else’s hat, and there’s a moment where it all stops.
I know we have to get decisions right, when Andre Marriner sends off the wrong Arsenal player it’s absurd, and the rest of the world can see, and we can all say you’ve got that wrong. But as someone who goes to the games, the stadium experience is miserable.
I feel that yes, there are basic things you have to get right. Mistaken identity. But I’m for the great chaos of the game, mistakes are made, we’ve lived with it for 100 years in professional football.
B’mouth vs Man City
August 25, 2019, 1:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass John Cross – ‘Communication is letting VAR down’
I’m a massive advocate of VAR, and whatever you say about it, it’s been absolutely spot on. But I’m not so convinced it’s led to such a good experience. One of the key factors for me is the delay, which they’ve tackled, but bigger than that is communication.
If you’re a match-going fan, your experience is far inferior now because of the lack of information compared to the people watching on TV. Yesterday, if you’re watching on telly, you know exactly what’s going on. You’ve got this amazing emotion, City players celebrating.
It was a repeat of the Champions League game with those amazing celebrations which were quickly overtaken by the Tottenham celebrations. Martin Tyler was completely swept away by the moment, and you can only call it, but they did quickly sweep back to Michael Oliver and you just thought, ‘How’s that happened? What’s happened there?’
The most striking moment for me in the whole melee was Hugo Lloris laughing after. He wasn’t laughing at Manchester City’s misfortune, but about the whole scenario. It was clear he couldn’t see why that goal was disallowed. I have to say, if you’re that match-going fan in the stadium you’re not going to know.
You do get certain instructions and signs on the big screens, but if it’s not overturned you don’t get the replay on the big screens. I know someone who was at the Arsenal game yesterday, and Arsenal scored quite quickly after Burnley equalised. And no-one in the stadium really knew what was going on. People say that was always the case – yes and now, that wouldn’t have been checked by the VAR last season.
But we have to stick with VAR. It will get better. Remember that Liverpool-West Brom FA Cup tie? That was an absolute shambles. I’d be so surprised if we get a repeat of that this season, but the handball law needs to be addressed because that was ridiculous.
Tottenham vs Newcastle
August 25, 2019, 4:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Ian Ladyman – ‘VAR the price of chasing perfection’
There’s no appetite at a place like Manchester United to put a big screen in. It’s expensive and you have to move people out of their seats. I think it’ll be a while before we see one at Old Trafford.
Rewind a couple of years and remind ourselves this is what people wanted. I never wanted it, I’ve sat here and said before I don’t want it. Without being too deep and philosophical, I thought sport was meant to reflect life – some things go your way, other things don’t. It’s not supposed to be a perfect experience. It never has been. One of the great challenges is how you bounce back from things that go against you.
I was in a minority, people used to come out with that ludicrous phrase about people’s livelihoods being at stake, things must be right, teams are getting relegated on the back of one bad decision – no they’re not, they’re getting relegated because they haven’t been good enough to stay up.