Arsenal were back to losing ways again in midweek as they were defeated by Wolves 2-1 but none of that will matter as the game was overshadowed by a controversial incident.
As Wolves player Willian Jose broke clear and had a chance on goal Arsenal defender David Luiz tried to follow him but in all honesty didn’t have the pace. Then Jose’s leg brushed Luiz’s from behind and Jose seemed to go down theatrically as if the brush and it really was that made him miss kick his shot. Not only were Wolves given a penalty but Luiz was also sent off which changed the complexion of the game. It is a decision which has left everyone in the game puzzled.
Some officials have said that the referee made the right decision as Luiz was near to the defender and influenced that action. Still puzzlement on everyone’s faces. Officials have also said that Luiz would have avoided a red card had he made a challenge and would have been booked instead although a penalty would have still be given. So in essence because Luiz did not make a challenge he was sent off. There was no VAR involved and one has to wonder in such a big incident on the pitch why the technology wasn’t used? An answer could be that the referee by the laws of the game made the right decision. But everyone from professional players, managers and the fans remain puzzled.
VAR has made so many terrible decisions that even supporters of the technology would have to admit that it has had its problems since being introduced. The truth is it doesn’t just affect one or two teams but every team that’s why even when fans agree with VAR when it comes to their turn and their club suffer a consequence of it they seem to wake up more that VAR may not be the answer that we have been looking for.
Of course it’s difficult to be annoyed with the actual technology itself, as it does do its job. The problem is that VAR reports what it sees and then human officials go back to basics and then make their choices, and whilst when it works it’s satisfying there are just too many instances when VAR gets it wrong.
It’s all about the letter of the law of course and the rules and if referees are supposed to follow the rules so be it, but the rules really need to change. One has to ask where did all the common sense go in the game of football which appeals to so many hundreds of millions of football fans around the globe mostly one would believe for its simplicity.
But even when VAR and the officials do make the right decision they can take too long. Now with fans not allowed to attend games because of the pandemic this feels like less of a problem, even though it really is. But with fans in the stadium VAR seems to have ripped the heart and soul out of the game. Waiting 4 minutes is akin to 30 minutes in a football game for a decision.
We have already experienced how painful it is when fans cheer madly for a goal only for it to be scrubbed off because the offending striker had his nose offside. That isn’t even a joke and has happened on several occasions since VAR has been introduced. Now fans cannot genuinely celebrate in the same manner, no matter how many tell you that they can, they can’t. A psychological barrier has been put up.
To conclude one also has to question what other professional sport does not keep its fans in the loop with new rules for each season, even if they are quite bizarre and make little sense?
Football is a beautiful game where only the players on the field should be making the headlines, the officials should feel invisible, sadly they along with technology seem to be taking the limelight and stealing those headlines.
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