Since the beginning of the season, the English Premier League has been ravaged with a plethora of controversial decisions of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
Several clubs have had wrong calls made against them. Some clubs have been hit the most in the league, thereby affecting the course of their season by the position they find themselves on the league table.
Recently, VAR has come under severe scrutiny and criticism by fans of how it is being used by the English referees.
Its inability to make the right call after allowing the referees in the VAR room, instead of those on the pitch, to make the decisions is something to discuss, and offside calls are on top of these concerns.
The question everybody is asking is, what criteria are used to judge when a player is offside because scenarios like that are now more complicated with VAR.
VAR Errors in Premiership Games
On Friday, Wolverhampton Wanderers was a victim of another terrible VAR call. Fulham needed a victory to keep their relegation battle alive, but Traore’s late goal gave the visitor, Wolves, the full 3 points in the match.
It was a good game from both sides but Wolverhampton Wanderers controlled the game with good ball possession in both halves.
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) made a huge mistake in the first half of the game when it cancelled Willian Jose’s goal in the 45+1 minutes of the game.
The center referee initially ruled it was a goal but after a lengthy review by the Video Assistant Referee for a possible offside, the goal was disallowed.
Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach Nuno Espirito reacted to the VAR’s decision on Willian Joe’s “offside” goal in the post-match comment.
“After the half time, it was difficult to settle down again because the players were out of focus and the message was to focus on our task, forget about VAR, we will analyze after. The boys did well and I think we were always in the game, action after action, knowing our priority was to defend and then have what Adama gives with speed”.
VAR Helping Some Teams Win Matches
On Saturday, VAR raised its ugly head again in the match between Manchester City and Leeds United. Manchester City hosted Leeds United in the Etihad Stadium as they look to extend their lead at the top of the premier league table to 17 points.
Leeds United took the lead in the 41 minutes of the game after a fine display from the team and a wonderful finish from Dalles, who has scored outside goals more than any other player in EPL this season.
But they were reduced to ten men few minutes after. The Leeds captain, Cooper became the first Leeds player to be shown a straight Red card this season.
He was initially shown a yellow card after the incident but referee Andre Marriner changed that to a Red Card, after reviewing the situation with the help of the video assistant referee (VAR).
In truth, that kind of foul should have been a yellow card but it was certainly not a red card offense.
Was this act meant to spare City’s blushes as they were down by a goal at home to 14th placed Leeds? maybe maybe not!
Liverpool And VARs Inconsistencies
Later in that afternoon, Liverpool welcomed Aston Villa at Anfield and Roberto Firmino was the latest victim of the terrible technology. Liverpool found themselves mired in VAR controversy once again this season.
Trailing 1-0 shortly before the break, Liverpool’s Diogo Jota latched onto a long diagonal pass forward before ultimately setting up Roberto Firmino to level the score; only that he couldn’t. Once again VAR Intervened to deny the Reds.
There were two aspects of this incredibly minute decision to be scrutinized. First, did Villa defender Matt Cash touch the ball as it made its way through to the Portuguese? After numerous replays, it was decided that he had not.
Secondly, was Jota in offside position in the first place? From the initial review, it seemed that he had timed his run perfectly but then the dreaded lines appeared to thwart his effort. It was incredibly tight and the outcome inconclusive.
Liverpool seems to be the epicenter of these VAR misfortunes. Earlier this season, Timo Werner had an effort controversially chalked off against the Reds while playing for Chelsea.
And before that was Sadio Mane’s offside in the Merseyside derby that ended in a 2-2 draw earlier in the season.
What Exactly Is Wrong With VAR In English Football?
VAR was always meant to correct ‘clear and obvious errors. If it is taking officials three minutes (more or less) to decipher the ‘correct’ decision, it is by definition, neither clear nor obvious. But now that the precedent has been set, it is difficult to roll it back.
It isn’t bias or favouritism, it’s just widescale incompetence from a cabal of legislative zealots who since its inception, has been tweaked and liberalised, rewritten and re-imagined, though rarely simplified.