No more offside by an armpit: Football lawmakers to issue VAR guidance amid claims technology is ‘killing the game’
Football lawmakers will clarify the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after a spate of offside decisions which have left fans – particularly in the English Premier League – fuming that the technology is ruining football.
The last round of Premier League games saw yet another litany of contentious VAR decisions, specifically over goals being ruled out for offside.
Wolverhampton Wanderers had a goal disallowed against league leaders Liverpool for a wafer-thin offside decision, while Sheffield United also had a goal chalked off against Manchester City in another tight offside call.Also on rt.com ‘RIP football’: Fans fume at VAR as Liverpool beat Wolves to restore 13-point lead at top of Premier League
Football fans and pundits have raged that players are being given offside by the length of an armpit or toenail, while the length of time taken to agonize over decisions with video officials at the Premier League’s Stockley Park hub in west London has caused consternation.
Other concerns are over a lack of real-time consultation with fans regarding VAR decisions.
VARcical. The issue for me is not VAR itself but how it’s implemented in this country. Not once has the referee gone to the screen but they’re happy to delay the game for ages to disallow an offside goal by millimetres when it cannot be calibrated to 100% accuracy. #VARpic.twitter.com/uWkjK57GYm— Adam Smithy (@AdamJSmithy) December 29, 2019
Amid the uproar, officials at the International Football Association Board (IFAB) – which governs the game’s rules – have suggested that Premier League has not been using the technology as intended by going over offsides with such minute scrutiny.
Instead, they reiterated that the “clear and obvious errors” principle should be applied more rigorously.
"Clear and obvious still remains – it's an important principle [of VAR]. There should not be a lot of time spent to find something marginal," IFAB general secretary Lukas Brud told the PA.
"If something is not clear on the first sight, then it's not obvious and it shouldn't be considered.
“Looking at one camera angle is one thing but looking at 15, trying to find something that was potentially not even there, this was not the idea of the VAR principle. It should be clear and obvious."Also on rt.com Cristiano Ronaldo’s trolling of VAR highlights joyless nature of new football technology
Brud said that this would be included in IFAB’s next update after its annual general meeting in February, stressing that it was not a change to the rules, but rather a reminder.
Whether the clarification eases fans’ fears over the technology remains to be seen, with a backlash against dozens of offside decisions in England’s top tier this season.
Prominent pundits, including the likes of BBC presenter Gary Lineker, have said VAR is killing the game as we know it.
Thoughts are with football at this difficult time.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 29, 2019
Arsenal fan Piers Morgan tweeted “RIP Football. Killed by VAR,” after the decision to rule out Jonny’s equalizer for Wolves against Liverpool on Sunday.
RIP Football. Murdered by VAR.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 29, 2019