Seven ways to conclusively end all calls for VAR in the Premier League

Russia 2018 showed how VAR can be used with minimal disruption to the game. Unfortunately the Premier League had already decided it wanted none of it...

VAR

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We didn’t have to wait long.

Week three of the Premier League’s new campaign and we finally have the absolutely blinding howler we were all waiting for.

The irresistible force of Pep Guardiola’s ever-so-precise footballing steamroller met the immovable object of English isolationist intransigence in the form of Willy Boly’s right arm as it flicked Joao Moutinho’s cross past Ederson and into the Sky Blues goal on Saturday.

And now we all have to put up with the fallout.

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And on and on and on…

As if to underline the absence of video replay technology, the gods threw up another, almost as outrageous stroke of good fortune for Wolves minutes later, when a clumsy challenge on David Silva in the penalty area was – presumably due to momentary blindness – missed by the referee too.

Your heart sinks when you imagine what will happen in a higher profile game when something like this goes wrong. The four horsemen could be readying their saddles if a decision is seen to cost, say, Liverpool a first title since the bubble perm went out of style.

Liverpool players led by Alan Hansen , Craig Johnston and Peter Beardsley celebrate winning the First Division title – 23/4/88
Mandatory Credit : Action Images

The sheer crushing inevitability of it all is enough to shrivel enthusiasm like a brisk breeze on an exposed scrotum, so what in the name of all that is good in the game can we do to stop this interminable nonsense right in its tracks before it devours our Premier League-watching pleasure?

1 – Stop broadcasting games

The 1985-86 Division One three-way title race between Liverpool, Everton and West Ham – yes, that West Ham – is in large part forgotten because of a stand-off between the Football League and TV companies which meant no one saw a huge swathe of the season – not even highlights on Match of the Day!

Frank McAvennie – West Ham United – Stock
Mandatory Credit : Action Images / Ted Hawes

Frank McAvennie scored 18 goals before Christmas for the Hammers having moved from St Mirren that summer, but no one knew what he looked like because they never saw him on TV.

What better way is there to stick our collective heads in the sand about VAR than to simply ban broadcasters from the grounds?

2 – Edit games as they happen

The Premier League has already successfully airbrushed all football prior to 1992 from history, so why not go one step further and start editing games in real time?

Football – Bristol City v Cardiff City – FA Cup Third Round – Ashton Gate – 09/10 – 12/1/10
General view of Television camera operator / snow
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs

No one in the ground knows what’s really going on anyway, all you need to do is pre-record a few stock clips of various goals and scenarios – like a reverse Dream Team – that can be patched in by Sky or BT whenever something controversial happens but is missed by the ref.

This could be a lucrative opportunity for any long-suffering Marouane Fellaini lookalikes out there.

3 – Change the rules

Admittedly this would be a radical step, but the Premier League could change the laws of the game to allow players to stand in offside positions, score goals with their hands, and hack opponents whenever they want.

And with Brexit looming, will there ever be a more opportune time for British football to strike out alone with a whole new rule book for the game just to avoid VAR controversy? I think not.

4 – Hire Sepp Blatter

FIFA’s foremost garter enthusiast is getting on years, and has had his ups-and-downs recently, but did anyone ever do a better job of spinning the line that video replays couldn’t be used in football because it would separate the Sunday league plodders from the Premier League pros?

President Nelson Mandela (L) embraces FIFA President Sepp Blatter after Blatter was awarded with South Africa’s highest civilian order, the Order of Merit, after the two met November 26. At the meeting, Blatter reaffirmed his support for an African bid to host the 2006 World Cup. Africa has never hosted the World Cup before and South Africa is busy gearing itself to launch Africa’s bid for the 2006 games.
JN/KM

This is the kind of character the top flight needs to sell the absence of VAR as a positive. Never mind the millions watching and billions at stake in the Premier League versus the lack of linesmen in your local league, the game is the same at every level still! People really bought that BS from Sepp.

And if he can’t work his magic, we’re sure anything else he gets up to will provide a distraction from VAR sooner rather than later.

5 – “Cultivate” collective amnesia

The big problem for the PL head honchos is the World Cup.

No World Cup, no problem.

We don’t wish to speculate on the powerful reach of the league’s authorities, but let’s just say that we don’t think it would be beyond their scope to, I don’t know, dose the water supply with some form of agent that would wipe recent memories from people’s minds.

From a PR perspective, this is a high-risk approach, but no guts, no glory.

6 – Guillotine

If all else fails, instituting a brutal regime of terror on the part of the league authorities seems the most expedient solution to the continuing chatter about video replays.

7 – VAR

Or we could just start using VAR.

What’s the big deal?

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What do you think?