If VAR was a manager, he’d have been sacked: Gary Lineker
Festive spirit was in short supply from video assistant referees (VAR) in the English Premier League yesterday morning (Singapore time) as three goals were ruled out for marginal offside calls, exacerbating frustration about the technology being used for the first time in England this season.
On a day when a weakened Leicester City team won 2-1 at West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur were held 2-2 at Norwich City, much of the debate in stadiums and on social media centred on disgruntlement at the forensic geometry being used to call tight offside decisions - even if the correct calls were ultimately made, reported AP.
"If VAR was a manager, he'd have been sacked weeks ago," former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted to his 7.5 million followers after Norwich striker Teemu Pukki had a goal disallowed for offside that required the VAR in a room outside London to apply lines and dots on the screen to judge.
The Canaries faithful reacted to the call by singing, "It's not football anymore".
That came hours after Brighton & Hove Albion defender Dan Burn was judged to be offside by a matter of millimetres before scoring in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth, and then Wilfried Zaha had the same call against him - or rather his armpit - after he set up Max Meyer's "goal" for Crystal Palace in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Said Burn: "I'm gutted, that's the third time I've been done by VAR. But if it is offside, it is offside.
"I know it was only an armpit or something stupid like that, but if that's how we're playing then it is the same for everyone."
"This is nonsense and it's damaging the spectacle," tweeted United States-based commentator Arlo White.
Narrow offside calls, and the microscopic way they are judged, have been the most contentious part of the VAR system brought in this season.
Said Palace boss Roy Hodgson: "It's small margins but those are the rules they're using.
"It's the procedure that they go on, so it's either it is or it isn't. There isn't much you can say.
"I was never one to be banging the drum for VAR.
"But if the mass media want it, and the public want it, once again you have to be mature enough to accept it."
Ex- Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas summed up the situation, saying: "Fans are not enjoying what's happening, players are not celebrating... something needs to change to stop that occurring. For offsides, I'd get rid of it."