Manchester United’s Harry Maguire offers VAR proposal to remove ‘opinions’ from decisions

Steven Chicken
A big-screen VAR check makes an offside decision against Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire is all in favour of this kind of thing

Are you ready for the full gamut of opinions on VAR over the next few weeks? Because you’re going to get it whether you like it or not.

Premier League clubs will already be discussing the use of technology between themselves ahead of holding a vote as to whether or not it should VAR scrapped at next month’s AGM, prompting debate about whether video technology should be retained, adapted or dumped – which is also a fun alternative to snog, marry, avoid to play with friends.

Harry Maguire: Make VAR for offsides only

Newcastle United’s Anthony Gordon said on Wednesday night that the Premier League should ‘either get rid of it or get better’ after having a very credible penalty shout turned down in a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag meanwhile said he doesn’t think it’s possible to go back to life without VAR, instead calling on the Premier League and PGMOL to implement improvements to the problems that have irritated everyone over the past five years.

And now his own centre-back, Harry Maguire, has suggested a different kind of middle ground, telling The Sun: “I think it is going to divide opinion and a lot of people will want to keep it.

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“Equally, the popular thing at the moment is to say get rid of it. It probably does need to be done better.

“The automated offsides are coming in next season and that will improve it. It will make things quicker.

“Personally, I would keep VAR but for offsides only. I would scrap it for everything that is opinion based. Offsides are factual and not subjective.

“It is so difficult to lose a game on an offside goal when a player is two or three yards offside. Everyone makes mistakes, linesmen make mistakes, so that is why I would keep VAR for that.

“But I would not have it for red cards, or penalties because even now, people disagree if a decision is right or wrong. For sure, I don’t want to see penalties decided by VAR – just let the referee make the decision.

“There have been far too many soft penalties this season. Penalties decide football matches and are such an important part of the game.”

Maguire concluded with a bit of self-awareness, saying: “Obviously, I am a defender and I would say that. Strikers might say they want soft penalties.”

The matter will be put to the vote on 6th June with at least 14 of the 20 clubs needing to vote in favour of scrapping VAR for it to actually be done away with.