Mails: It’s VARy bad to use technology to rob Mata…

Date published: Monday 19th February 2018 9:29

If you have anything to say on any subject, you know to do:


Begging now, Poch…
No more Sissoko. You can’t fix him no matter how hard you try to be Henry Higgins. He disrupts this team every time because he has no awareness and even less skill.

No mas Sissoko, por favor.
Eric Breitman


Why do Spurs get a Premier League referee?
Just a quick one, but how is it neutral and fair that Spurs get the benefit of a ref who knows them and, more importantly, has to see them again in the next couple of weeks, but will probably never see Rochdale again? All of a sudden when Rochdale play a Premier League team, the refs they get every week aren’t good enough? And coincidentally they can award decisions which make their life easy in the long run.
MB (Abu Dhabi)


On Rochdale v Tottenham
In fairness to Neil Ashton (Mediawatch, Monday 12 February), I’m certain there’s a fair few Rochdale fans who, in years to come, will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

I really enjoyed watching that game, actually. There was endeavour from both sides and some excellent defending The real highlight though has to be Dale’s first goal, a fantastic counterattack and a marvellous combination of quick thinking, precision passing and excellent positioning – I’m sure several Hotspur defenders believed Henderson was offside but the replay showed he was level with Alderweireld but in acres of space.
Ed Quoththeraven


Sack the Taxi Four
Like all Albion fans I have feel let down and disgusted by the antics of Evans, Barry, Livermore and Myhill.

I personally feel they should have their contracts terminated and here is why:

Barry, we paid £1million for. We will not get any future fee. Wages approx. £60k per week.

Evans: can go for £3million when we are relegated. At approx. £70k per week we would save that over the course of the next six months.

Livermore, signed for £10million. We are never recouping that. Again at approx. £50k per week we would have a hit we could sustain and also getting a high earner off the wage bill for next season.

Myhill, arrived on a free and would leave on a free. Approx. £20k per week in wages. He is a substitute goalkeeper.

So if you add up their weekly wages between now and June it comes to just short of £4million.

Now everyone knows that upon relegation the first people to go are the lowest paid auxiliary staff, stewards, club shop workers etc and then the community coaches and the funding for the respective programs. Well £4million would easily keep all of those people in work. What’s more they have not failed like the playing staff.

It is my belief that the fans would be proud of the club to make this decision.
Ben The Baggie


Clear and obvious
From 16 Conclusions:

‘Referee chief Mike Riley stressed last month that VAR should only ever be used in the event of a “clear and obvious” error, but this was no such thing. This was the most marginal of offside calls, not a glaring mistake.’

I don’t understand this at all. Surely the whole point of this new technology is for things that could be perceived as incorrect no matter how close a call is (in this case) to be put right like goal line technology.

Who is to determine what is marginal and what is a clear and obvious error before the call to VAR is made? Surely when a goal is scored if there is any chance that it could be offside it is a good time to use this even if it is not an obvious error. Who calls wether it should be used ir not?

The rule states (although I cannot find this officially on FIFA): ‘Replays are used when there is a ‘clear and obvious error’ involving goals, penalty awards, red cards, and mistaken identity.’

This was a goal and a possible offside decision, although by no means an error. If this is not the perfect time to use it, then when is?
Craig Donovan


Following the weekend’s action and the mails about the handball and the offside in the Man United game, I think that football needs to take a lesson from other sports that have implemented VAR successfully, namely rugby and cricket.

At the moment, the VAR officials are spending too long looking at fractional decisions and trying to make the correct call. This isn’t what VAR should be for.

In rugby, when a try is scored, the has referee a choice of question if he wants to check with the video ref.

If he is unsure the try was legal, he asks “Try. Yes or no?” It is the job of the video referee to check all the evidence to see if a try has been scored. If it is inconclusive, he will not award the try.

However, if he thinks it was a try but wants to check something, he asks “Is there any reason why I can’t award the try?” The video ref has to find hard evidence to show the try should not stand. If it is inconclusive, the try is given.

Cricket has a similar policy to this second approach. For LBW decisions, there has to be hard evidence the umpire is wrong. If Hawkeye shows the call to be marginal, then you stick with the umpire’s call. It’s the same for catches. The umpire will make a call to say whether the catch is legal. Unless there is clear evidence to show he is wrong, the call will not be overturned. If the video is inconclusive, the original call stands.

Football should be the same. Play the game, and let the referee be the ref. If a decision is checked by VAR it should be because there is clear evidence, not searching for millimeter decisions using wobbly lines.

I think VAR can work and early mistakes are no reason to get rid of it, but it needs to be improved quickly or the tide will begin to turn.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


…Grab your vernier callipers, dust off your physics textbook, that’s the only way to properly implement the VAR…

Seriously, so now we’re talking about a knee being offside…what kind of technological bullshirt is this? I mean, whatever happened to giving the attacker the benefit of the doubt?

It’s VARy bad to use technology to rob Mata (wouldn’t harm a fly) a goal his all-round display fully deserved. VAR should be used for obvious referee errors such as missing a bad tackle, violent conduct, handball, and so on. If it takes an entire commercial break to determine that Mata was ‘offside’, what’s the point? Johnny Nic should start a 1,000,000 man march to protest this injustice…
Keg Baridi, NBI, Kenya


…Right, VAR then. My issues here aren’t that the goal was ruled out necessarily (though there is absolutely no way that it should have been), but how the technology was applied, and some worrying comments from HawkEye after the game.

Firstly, it should never have been reviewed in the first place. It wasn’t a clear mistake so why was the decision of the referee’s assistant overruled? As I understood it, VAR was supposed to be there to review contentious decisions or correct obvious mistakes, and this was neither of those. The fact that we’re talking about maybe a millimetre’s difference between Mata and the defender – and I’m still yet to see any image or video that definitively proves that it was offside – suggests to me that there was not sufficient justification for sending it for review. If they’re going to review every decision of such fine margins then there’ll be more reviewing than footballing.

Secondly, the delays really are just too much. Apparently it was only a minute, but in real-time it felt a lot longer. I would suggest that it should be kept to a maximum of 30 seconds; if you can’t decide either way within that time then the original decision should stand. I think that giving the opportunity to correct mistakes at the time is definitely an endeavour worth pursuing, but it needs more efficiency. That will come in time, as the people involved get used to it, but we’re clearly not there yet.

Finally, and most worryingly, were the statements from HawkEye. I appreciate that they’re saying that it was a mistake that lead to the wiggly lines being broadcast, but that just raises two questions for me: 1) How did the wiggly lines image exist in the first place? and 2) How did a situation arise in which said image could be broadcast? I don’t think I’ve ever seen the ‘wrong images’ be broadcast in all my years of watching cricket and tennis before, so it’s a surprise that it happened on Saturday. But the very fact that the wiggly lines image was there at all is a colossal mistake. Sure, they say that the decision wasn’t made on that image, but that image was generated somehow, so by whom/what and for what purpose? Saying it was a mistake isn’t enough, I’m afraid, and it needs to be made clear how those images came to be shown to the TV audience and demonstrated how it’s going to be prevented in future.

Ultimately, the decision didn’t affect the outcome of the game, but it easily could have done. Trailing 2-0 at half-time isn’t exactly game over but it still changes the size of the task required; at 1-0, one goal gets you back on level terms, so you know it’s less of a task to change the balance of the game. There are obvious lessons to be learned here, but it’s a black mark against the trial of VAR, which doesn’t need any more reasons for people to discredit it.
Ted, Manchester


All those arguments against VAR in a nutshell
Pretty much every criticism of VAR comes under one of the following:

– Its implementation is not absolutely perfect from the get-go therefore it’s crap
– It may not be able to solve all the issues with officiating in the game so let’s not let it solve any issues at all
– I can’t handle prolonged stoppages
– Some decisions made by VAR are based on the finest margins and I think this is nitpicky even though I’m being nitpicky myself by saying this.
– Football is about drama and controversy and I’d prefer to watch a soap opera rather than a fair game

Honestly, it’s no wonder fans of other sports find football and its fans laughable.
Vish (AFC), Melbourne


Remembering Sir Bobby
A lovely piece by Daniel Storey on Sir Bobby Robson.

Whilst I’m sure you will get many emails with regards to readers own thoughts and experiences on Sir Bobby I’d like to share my own. My grandfather worked as an electrician in the mines in Langley Park and had Bobby as his apprentice. They spent many an hour talking about football and remained friends for the rest of their lives. On my grandparents Ruby wedding anniversary Sir Bobby apologised for not being able to make the celebrations by sending a letter and an official England tie. England were at the 1990 World Cup so he had a fair excuse!

As Newcastle manager he invited my grandfather and father to St James for a meet and greet prior to a game. I will always remember by grandfather telling me that Bobby apologised for having to leave them but he “had a team talk to do”!

All the best.
Daniel Guildford


There was life before the Premier League…
Most Goals (EPL): Alan Shearer (260)
Most Goals (First Division All time): Jimmy Greaves (357)

Most Goals in a Season (EPL): Andy Cole/Alan Shearer (34)
Most Goals in a Season (First Division All time); Dixie Deans (60)

Most Hat-tricks (EPL): Alan Shearer (11)
Most Hat-tricks (First Division All time): Dixie Dean (37)

Most Appearances (EPL): Gareth Barry (652)
Most Appearances (First Division All time): Peter Shilton (849)

Not sure why this bugs me, but it does…a record should be a proper record. And no, it wasn’t necessarily easier in the old days, there was genuine competition, dodgy pitches and thuggery was allowed. Both Greaves and Deans records were extraordinary even then, and Ronaldo has only just surpassed Jimmy Greaves as the all time top scorer across the major European competitions, a record that stood for 50 years.

Now if Man City win 32 games and score over 128 goals (both achieved in 42 games), exceed 95 points and have goal difference over 71, they will clearly be the best individual English team of all-time. That would be a proper record.
Matthew (ITFC)

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