Mark Clattenburg: Faceless officials make VAR a hard sell to the public

The former top Premier League referee was never afraid to make the big decisions and now he’s not afraid to speak his mind either it seems…

Comments

The problem with VAR at the moment is there’s no transparency. It’s being handled by a faceless man in a studio in London, he can’t speak to the crowd, the players, anyone.

The minute he speaks, and you can see the decision on the big screen, the perception of VAR will be completely different.

The issue football will always have with VAR is that it’s such an opinionated sport. Matter of fact things rarely happen, other than offside. The rest are all based on opinion!

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However, part of the game is that mistakes will happen. From what I’ve seen, its implementation has been wrong – it’s used too frequently, to re-referee the game when it isn’t needed. It has upset a lot of referees.

It’s only really meant for scandalous decisions, like Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland. The consequences of that can’t be allowed to happen anymore.

There are a few other rule changes I’d like to see. I really like the Green Card that’s been introduced to the CONIFA World Football Cup in London this month by Paddy Power.

It means players will get dismissed for dissent or diving, forcing their team to substitute them. I think FIFA should follow suit, absolutely. It’ll address two major issues in our game.

I’d also like to introduce a new way of punishing time-wasting by goalkeepers. When they take too long with a goal kick, give a corner rather than a yellow card.

If you book them, the keeper is laughing, because it’s the 88th minute and he’s just delaying the game further. Ben Foster is one of the worst for ‘absorbing time’ and it annoys everyone.

You’d probably never use it, because they’d be too scared to give away a corner, but the threat would work.

Refereeing has also changed in recent years. Now finals are refereed correctly too, you’re seeing more and more red cards in finals because Howard Webb got so heavily criticised in 2010 after the World Cup final. It was a turning point.

There was a perception for years about cup finals, not to “spoil them”, not to give red cards.

I remember FA Cup Finals – Gazza in ‘91 comes to mind – where players flew into challenges and didn’t get the red card because nobody wanted to spoil the match.

Cup finals are big occasions and players get wound very tight. Paul Gascoigne was not a dirty player, but that day he was wound up, and referees have to deal with players when they’re like that.

I remember when no one got sent off in friendlies even. Now they do….

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