Is VAR and a lack of common sense ruining the game we love?

Yet again the talking point of the weekend is not so much the football but VAR and one wonders if common sense is now ruining the game we love?

There are so many different issues after a few months of VAR and that can be normal when a new service is implemented but it has also been evidently frustrating for fans. Now when your team score, you cheer with uncertainty, you just never know if play will be called back. It is even harder if you are at a game. Take yesterday’s match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace as a huge example. The game was locked at 2-2 but Arsenal had taken the lead, it was a goal, but it wasn’t. Fans in the stadium honestly had no idea what was going on. Replays were not shown, no explanation was given, but there was a long delay. The goal looked legitimate, but VAR had spotted something between two players in the build up something and nothing if truth be told and Arsenal were denied what most probably would have been the win.

The offside rule is another problem. How can a player be deemed to have an advantage or looking for one if their nose, or hair or foot is offside? This isn’t VAR’s fault of course and it is only going by the laws of the game, but they are silly ones at best. The same problem is the hand to ball, ball to hand rule in the penalty area. How can it be a penalty when no obvious cheating is involved? We now have a situation where an opposing player can now fire the ball into a defenders arm and get given a penalty, stone wall in some people’s opinion, this seems almost warped and is ruining the game.

Penalties are given far too easily, but at the end of the day when VAR was supposed to clear up match day controversy it is actually simply adding to it. So what is the solution? First off common sense needs to prevail, it is easy to tell if a player is putting themselves in a position to cheat or take an advantage or handle the ball or mistakenly do so. VAR needs to be quicker in its decisions and perhaps VAR should be less used and let the referee be able to make decisions. One area where VAR is needed is offside because the linesman’s job seems obsolete now, too many are too poor at their job. And what VAR does spectacularly right is when a player is NOT offside and is able to rule that out.

I think it’s fair to say that even if you are for VAR, the system has made too many errors and the judgement really hasn’t been there on a consistent basis. That’s fine it is new, but perhaps this has all been rushed out far too quickly? The football, the players and the goals should be the talking point of the weekend, not VAR and that is the bottom line.

Richard Scudamore’s reported £5 million Premier League payment is wrong on all levels

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The CEO of the English Premier League Richard Scudamore is leaving his post after what has been 19 glorious years at the helm. But Scudamore has come under pressure after it was announced that he will be receiving a £5 million golden handshake goodbye.

The payment will be made by all 20 Premier League clubs, contributing £250,000 each but the question that has to be asked is how is this allowed to happen?

Let’s be clear in the fact that Scudamore has done a quite terrific job promoting the Premier League over the last two decades. When he entered the job, the Italian league- Serie A was still the greatest league in Europe if not the world. This was quickly taken over by the Spanish league and La Liga. But the Premier League has risen up to become not only he most competitive league at least in Europe but also the most exciting and most watched.

Scudamore has been the engine behind an incredible revamp that has seen hooliganism evaporated, safe stands, and hundreds of millions of pounds injected into the 20 top clubs. This has led to the Premier League having some of the greatest players in this era to grace the game playing week in and week out. Also stadiums have improved, so much so that it should be a formality for England to be holding a World Cup very soon. Various Champions League finals have already taken place in the UK.

So from that point there is little to complain of, Scudamore has done an excellent job- although one must remember that he was once quoted saying that it didn’t feel like a job since he was having so much fun. The problem with this payment is that Scudamore is paid a reported £900,000 a year to do his job and also can receive seven figure bonuses each year. And that’s the biting point- why do clubs deem it necessary for him to be paid almost five times his salary as a bonus?

From a clubs point of view the answer is easy, Scudamore has made them tens of millions. This is there everlasting thank you to him. The problem is that the payment is not justified on a wider scale. How many jobs would pay out a 5x salary bonus because you did well? The story stinks and just shows how far football is now removed from the common fan.

No doubt Scudamore will now be under pressure to give some of the money away. Investing it in some charities would be nice, or even grassroots football, giving something back in a nutshell. But that isn’t what football at the very core is sadly about.

Pochettino calls FA tweet about Smalling and Kane “embarrassing”

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Mauricio Pochettino has hit out against the Football Association after the governing body sent a tweet which appeared to mock England striker Harry Kane. Following Man Utd’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham, the FA sent a tweet asking Chris Smalling what he had in his pocket. They then attached a video of Smalling saying “Harry Kane”. Spurs boss Pochettino was exasperated that the organisation would send such a tweet, especially with the World Cup fast approaching and Kane cutting a figure of optimism for England supporters ahead of the showcase competition. When asked of the situation, Pochettino replied: “We need to protect our English players. We need to give them belief.

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Marcos Alonso Facing Punishment From FA After Rash Long Challenge

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Chelsea’s trip to Southampton at the weekend was a thoroughly entertaining affair. Relegation-threatened Saints took a two goal lead in the first half to offer real hope that new manager Mark Hughes could guide his side nearer to safety, but a capitulation saw last season’s champions take all three points with a 3-2 win.

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Sam Allardyce is the new England manager

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When England failed abysmally at Euro 2016 and Roy Hodgson as expected quit his post moments later the players hoped that the new England boss would come from foreign shores. They haven’t got their wish as the FA has given the green light to Sam Allardyce.

Allardyce or ‘Big Sam’ as he is known in England will be doing his best impression of his famed Cheshire cat grin with the news. Indeed a few weeks ago linking the former West Ham United and Sunderland manager to the job would have been distant, but any English manager working in the top flight for so long has the ultimate dream of leading their country and at 61 time was not on his side. He’s finally, after managing for nearly 25 years in the game, landed the big job and he will be relishing every moment of it- but was he really the right man?

The problem for the FA going with a foreign manager is the slap in the face and rubber stamp to the heart of English football emblazoned with a seven lettered word- ‘failure’. Going abroad would have been admittance that there isn’t any English born manager available that has the talent to lead the national side. Also the top nations don’t go looking abroad. New European champions Portugal have done in the past but they finally won a major trophy with Fernando Santos, Portuguese. Indeed all of the semi final teams from Euro 2016 were all managed by coaches from that country. Why should England be different?

The FA can of course point to the fact that when they did look further away they came up with Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello who both respectively took one step forward and several back. Would an English manager in their time have done any worse? Okay Steve McClaren aside, but these managers demanded huge salaries and huge attention and their legacies as football coaches will not be remembered for their time with the English national team.

Allardyce in the end didn’t have too much competition- there was talk of Steve Bruce perhaps Alan Pardew but in the end the FA have gone for a man who some players he’s coached have recently come out and said he has a calming influence and really does care for the progression of the team. Progression is a huge word and one that ultimately won over the FA because Allardyce has agreed to nurture the next England coach as part of his job.

The problem for Big Sam is that he is more remembered for relegation dog fights than battling it out near the top of the league. And the big worry must inevitably remain that he may, even if he is English, be another manager that could well be taking backwards steps than advancing in his new job. Only time will tell.