At this point even the majority of people who supported the introduction of VAR to the Premier League at the start of this season are beginning to grow tired of it’s many failures and drawbacks. A system that was brought in to reduce controversial moments in football, has somehow managed to create even more than we saw before… and now they’re admitting to mistakes?
Last night VAR officials admitted that Danny Ings’ equaliser for Southampton against Watford, shouldn’t have stood. This is despite the fact that the game was paused for a VAR review, with officials viewing numerous replays to check if the ball had gone out of play, hit Ings on the arm, or hit winger Moussa Djenepo on the arm. After review, the goal was allowed to stand, despite the handball by Djenepo in the build up – check it out in the game highlights.
In a game between Southampton and Watford, this was a huge decision, as Southampton would go on to win the game 2-1, in what could well prove to be a relegation dogfight. It also had huge repercussions for Quique Sanchez Flores, as he was sacked by Watford earlier this morning, following yesterday’s result. It’s just the latest in a litany of mistakes made by VAR officials, however it is one of few that they have openly admitted to, which begs the question as to why they haven’t owned up to other glaring mistakes.
While it is encouraging to see this sort of communication from the VAR officials, something that fans have been asking to see from referee’s for a long time, the inconsistency in which mistakes are admitted to could prove to be yet another frustration in the long term.
VAR is not only sucking the spirit out of the game, with the ridiculous offside decisions that we’re seeing being made on a weekly basis (remember ‘clear and obvious errors’?), but we’re still seeing a number of entirely basic mistakes being made by officials. It’s clear that the current system just doesn’t work the way that the league needs it to, there need to be some significant improvements made throughout the remainder of this season and during the summer if VAR is going to become a long term success in English football.
You can read more about the impact of VAR on football here.