Onside, offside, hand ball or ball to hand… What does it all mean? Football for many centuries has been a simple sport played by the masses for many of those hundreds of years without any set of rules until those in Cambridge & Sheffield decided to write some up in the mid 1800’s.
But now the game has advanced from one played in a park with a sphere of sorts and one that brings personal perks to those who kick it good to one that is now all about the money… Nothing else matters.
“We need VAR to solve issues that may be life threatening for clubs” but in reality… The big clubs just get big from the money they earn whilst the others make do off the back of the money earned by those bigger. Does a video based opinion really make a difference on the grand scheme of things when Barcelona play Leganes and win 6-0? Or Bayern Munich play Augsburg in yet another home banker? The best teams are better for a reason, it doesn’t take a video to work this out? Yes “It’s about margins” they say… But really a Referee making a wrong judgement and a destruction of officials begins from every Manager & Media Mogul on the planet… A player makes an error and it’s a pat on the arse and business as usual or a 4 out of 10 in the following days paper.
Now I’m all for technology in sport, I like separating right from wrong and hawk eye in tennis is definitive as it is exciting in cricket, but football is different. Football is emotion based, a good referee has to judge each game as it comes, not stick to laws based on how every game should appear to those that don’t understand it. For example it always annoys me when the board goes up for 6 minutes injury time when a side is leading by 3 or 4 goals… Just end it now and let us get home.
“Oh but the goal difference” you might add… Bore off.
For goal line technology I see a need. I also see the technology itself as credible and definitive. But is VAR really any better judgement then what the Referee and his four officials can see? Surely they can communicate to each other themselves to decide if one thinks the initial judgement is wrong? How do we define ‘intention’ and ‘accidental’ or even ‘cheating’ for that matter.
If it is really needed to save the grace of the game then why not provide one team each with a challenge. That way it gets saved for only the most controversial outcomes of the game only, if a team wins the challenge they get to keep it and have another go, if they lose it they have no more challenges left? The captain can call it, he decides as he has the armband, a good captain like in cricket will get it right, a bad one (probably from the sub-continent) will use it up on something meaningless. We waste a few minutes per half maximum and it doesn’t alter the flow of the game too much more than an injury might when the ball is kicked out of play for a poke in the eye.
My point on this needless necessity though goes back to football being a sport. Nobody is losing a life over a decision, nobody is losing a job.. Ok managers get sacked but they are contracted, they get paid off, they get paid handsomely, and they get sacked by bad chairman and boards of people that know nothing about football… Not because they’ve been hard done to by a couple of bad decisions. Players get over it too. They just want to play football after all. They get a bad decision one week, the next its forgotten. It’s part and parcel and if it weren’t it wouldn’t survive as a sport.
There’s a saying in football that “these things even themselves out”… I think we all get too wrapped up in the money side of things to even care about what really goes on in a particular 90 minutes… We just look at the score and see that Manchester City have won again.. They must be great? Or Fulham have lost again… They must be rubbish? Have they sacked their Manager yet?
In the last few months I’ve seen more German Doctors from Reserve team football appointed as Managers in the Premier League over English Coaches that have played at the highest level. Why? 20 Premier League Teams… Only 1 team can win… Three will go down… No German Coach has ever won the Premier League and plenty have failed… It now seems more like a fashion accessory replacing one young intelligent looking German for another one? Does every club have to have one? Is it the ‘IN’ thing of the moment? Why don’t we go back to trying Scottish Managers? After all the percentage rates are much higher than any other nation in winning the Premier League.
My point whether you blame VAR or whether you just appoint a Manager because he knows Jurgen Klopp isn’t going to make any difference. The teams at the top will be more likely to win games and the teams at the bottom will be more likely to lose games. No amount of technology in the world will change that, so why try and introduce it?
Teams go up, teams go down, some go out of business, others are multi billion pound businesses that are in huge debt even higher than those that go out of business. None of which is that relevant because all it really boils down to is ‘entertainment’… and if football loses the entertainment edge, then there will be no business in it.
So with VAR or without it… It simply doesn’t change a bloody thing!