Paul Ince: VAR needs scrapping before it ruins football

The former Manchester United and Liverpool midfielder thinks that the use of Video Assistant Referee sucks the life out of the game...


Don’t get me started on VAR. It completely sucks the life out of football. When a goal is scored and then is ruled out, like in Tottenham v Huddersfield, it dangles a carrot in front of the fans and the players and takes it away.

I hate watching it and seeing that gap where they are deciding what happens because it totally ruins the high intensity level of watching football. It hasn’t got better the more they’ve implemented it in games too, it’s gotten worse.

The Spurs-Rochdale game on Tuesday night was the final straw for me. It really was. It was stop, start, stop, start throughout the whole game and that to me isn’t what football is about.

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I can appreciate there are major decisions like clear penalties which need to be looked at. But it felt as though every time someone scored a goal it was sent to VAR, or for every minor penalty decision. Referees and linesmen should be able to make that decision themselves without sending every single one to a VAR decision.

It’s taking the responsibility away from the referees and the linesmen, they should be able to make big decisions. Football fans want to go away from the game and discuss the decisions, and it’s taken that conversation away completely.

It also makes the referees and the VAR decisions more important than the football and the players’ themselves. The game should be about the football played, not about whether a referee has made a right call. They’re not the stars here, the footballers are.

I think most fans would accept that sometimes decisions go your way, and sometimes they don’t. If we carry on the way it’s going at the minute, football will be totally ruined for the fans. They’d rather enjoy the game they’re paying to watch and love, than watch it the way it is with VAR present.

It spoils it and takes the passion out of the game. Fans see a goal scored and go ballistic, then have to wait for a few minutes to find out whether that goal stands. There’s no fun in that for anyone.

If you’re stopping a game every ten minutes for an incident, with players standing around waiting for a decision, it’s also going to be fraught with injury problems. The decisions take far too long, and I’m not sure whether we needed it to begin with. It needs scrapping, and fast.

You can see on the players’ faces that they’re not enjoying it either, they’re totally bemused. They should just be focused on playing football and winning the game, but VAR takes their concentration away and ruins good games.

Goal-line technology, on the other hand, is a must. I find it baffling that we haven’t brought that into the game yet but we’re wasting time trying to make the Video Assistant Referee work.

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What do you think?