Calls for VAR grow louder
The need for a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system in soccer, where available and affordable, is surely more prevalent today after the shenanigans at Old Trafford this past weekend.
Two players escaped red cards and one was red-carded wrongly.
Let’s deal with the red cards that were NOT given.
In the first instance Tyrone Mings of Bournemouth should have been given his marching orders for his coming together with the head of Zlatan Ibrahimovic of United.
Despite all the explanations from so-called ex players plying their trade these days as soccer pundits and their attempt not to call a spade a spade, it was, in my opinion, a deliberate and cynical attempt to cause serious bodily injury to the Swedish super star.
In fairness to the referee, the incident happened so quickly he probably didn’t have much opportunity to see the full extent of what happened. Perhaps his assistant could have but then there was so much else happening it’s easy to get side tracked.
The studio guests on the BBC’s Match of the Day (MOTD), former Liverpool player Danny Murphy, and ex Arsenal defender Martin Keown disagreed on the incident.
It was clear to me also that Danny Murphy was trying to be very “politically correct” in not being seen to criticise a fellow player. That does nothing for the credibility of the game when players, or ex players in this case, are reluctant to tell it like it is.
On the other hand, Martin Keown disagreed with his fellow panellist and said that Mings had ample and sufficient time to avoid any connection with the head of Ibrahimovic, and I agree entirely with that.
The second major incident in this game involved the deliberate and pre-planned elbow to the face of Tyrone Mings of Bournemouth. This, dear friends, was, as clear as the nose on your face, an instance of a man seeking revenge for the earlier incident.
When asked about it in the post-match interview Ibrahimovic said that Mings jumped into his elbow. He also said that what happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch.
To me that’s a little flippant, to say the least. Does that mean that thuggery is now an accepted part of the modern game and anything goes so long as you can get away with it?
I’ve said this before, and at the risk of being boring and repetitive, I’ll say it again.
Referees need more assistance than the guys running up and down the line with flags.
- Technology is available, why isn’t it being used?
- Why are Fifa so reluctant to implement video footage that is there?
- What are they scared of?
There was a third incident also involving Ibrahimovic when he “tangled” with a Bournemouth player. He was touched so lightly that it would hardly have knocked a fly over. But guess what? Down he went as if he’d been poleaxed and the Bournemouth player was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
In the three cases mentioned in this blog there was cheating and violence. In my opinion, the lesser of the three got the ultimate sanction and the two cases of blatant hooliganism escaped.
Referee Kevin Friend had a difficult time controlling this game.
If he’d had the VAR system this situation could have been sorted out quite quickly and there would be no need for an FA enquiry.
Why is the FA investigating a refereeing issue anyway? Law 5 says (paraphrasing) the ref’s decision is final and a referee can only change his mind so long as he has not restarted the game.
So who gives the FA the right to flout the Fifa laws of the game? They would be better employed at lending more support to the already under pressure match officials and let them get on with their job.
Dr Errol Sweeney
Twitter – dr_errol