The wonderful world of VAR. Designed to solve all of football's decision making problems, eradicate poor decisions and ensure that the game is officiated in an efficient, quick and ultimately, correct manner.
Apart from ever since it's inception, things have just been flat out rubbish. Nobody inside the ground has a clue what is going on, the decisions being made don't always make sense and in tonight's case, decisions have been reversed without the refereeing even reviewing the footage itself.
Isn't that the point of VAR? The 'Video Assistant Referee' advises the referee that he has potentially made the wrong decision and needs to review the footage for himself...? Well not in this case, for reasons that we will go on to reveal.
Naturally, with controversy comes Twitter hysteria - and their is plenty of it doing the rounds after the shambolic events between Schalke and Manchester City in the Champions League. Here's a snippet of what's been doing the rounds..
VAR getting everything wrong. 1st not a pen and 2nd was offside before the foul takes place. So who’s deciding what gets looked at and what doesn’t?— Michael Wood (@woodster1001) February 20, 2019
The decision to award the penalty didn't convince everybody but there were some who felt it was a clear and obvious handball from Nicolas Otamendi, and therefore, a pretty straight forward decision..
Good thing about VAR is that when properly used, it reduces drastically arguments and doubt, because it's correct 99% of the time.— Deji Faremi (@deejayfaremi) February 20, 2019
Really don’t know why it took VAR so long to give that pen for Schalke. Pretty obvious— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) February 20, 2019
So we're off to a good start - because VAR corrects the decisions that are obviously wrong, doesn't it? Hmm.
The next issue seemed to be the fact that it took 4,137,862 minutes to reach a decision. Again, this didn't go unnoticed in Twitter land.
After a three-hour delay, Schalke have been awarded a penalty. The VAR must have been off having a toilet break when the hand ball call was referred to him— Paul Hirst (@hirstclass) February 20, 2019
Schalke have another penalty! We’ll get back to you in 10 years when VAR has confirmed it.— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) February 20, 2019
VAR slowly destroying football. What joy is there in deliberating over a subjective decision for 5 minutes - causing massive delays? Ugly stuff...— Ryan Elliott (@RyanEJourno) February 20, 2019
But with the decision made (by the men watching the screen, which we'll come on to), the deed was done. So what's the overall verdict on VAR? Unanimous panning it seems..
Complete this sentence...— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) February 20, 2019
VAR is __________ 🤔
And that's the nonsense (for me) about VAR for everything other than yes/no, out/in, on/off decisions. It's caused a ludicrous stoppage, and it's still a subjective decision.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) February 20, 2019
My issue with that VAR decision is that the ref never looked at it. It was a subjective decision...taken away from the field of play. Regardless of right or wrong call...the referee should be the one to make it using the pitchside screen...— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) February 20, 2019
Re-reading the VAR protocol, I reckon the ref really should have gone to take another look at that first penalty incident himself— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) February 20, 2019
Still, the good news is that everyone was promised that those in the stadium would know what was going on and would be kept informed of any decisions that were being made!
I'm sure Uefa said they would signal when VAR was being consulted on the big screens in the stadium, but there's nothing here. Just guessing whenever there's a long delay. Starting to think it's a terrible idea again (or at least terribly executed)— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) February 20, 2019
Uefa said in their press release on VAR that decisions would be explained/mentioned on big screens inside the stadiums to keep the fans informed of what's going on but we've had absolute zero of that here— Paul Hirst (@hirstclass) February 20, 2019
Now back to the big reveal. Because it then emerged that the referee had wanted to review the footage after all for Schalke's first penalty. But he couldn't. Because the technology was broken pitchside. BROKEN. In a Champions League last 16 game. Good lord.
The referee couldn’t check the pitchside screen regarding the Otamendi handball because it was faulty. He relied purely on the word of the VAR, which probably isn’t ideal for such a borderline decision— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) February 20, 2019
So the referee was gonna have a look at VAR but it wasnt working wowwwww so rigged— Charlie Lockhart (@C_H_lockhart) February 20, 2019
But wait.....there is good news after all!
VAR worked out in the Atletico Madrid-Juventus clash, and successfully overruled a penalty being awarded (when it was infact an infringement that occurred just outside the box) - hallelujah!
Can’t believe I’m saying this, but that VAR intervention in the Atleti v Juve game was not only timely but also important and justified the technology— Andy Heaton (@Andrew_Heaton) February 20, 2019
This has all been a bit much for me, so I'm off for a lie down and a cup of tea. Night.