He is an interesting extract from a fan/writer down under, summing up that joke VAR!
This age-old sport, one that has gifted so much joy to people from contrasting backgrounds, has become the victim of technology and automation at its finest. The so-called ‘fool proof’ system of VAR is robbing football of goals and it might just have called the worst call an official has made in its short but fractured history.
Let me just establish this, I am not a Foxes fan, nor am I a Canaries fan — but as a neutral, I was genuinely disappointed (not angry) with the decision to chalk off Kelechi Iheanacho’s perfectly-taken goal just before the hour mark.
With the score locked at 0-0, the Nigerian challenged for the ball with Norwich defender Ben Godfrey. In tangling for possession, the ball unintentionally struck the arms of both players before falling at the feet of Iheanacho. Neither player appealed — why would they? With the goal in his sights, Leicester striker Iheanacho took another touch before lashing a shot past Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul.
The forward wheeled away in celebration towards the corner flag as the Foxes fans seated in the away section erupted, but they soon came to realise that they’d travelled almost three hours and 150 miles for nothing. The cheers soon turned to groans as the giant screen within Carrow Road confirmed everyone’s worst fears, VAR was about to get involved.
In other words, it was about to take centre stage to put a huge and unnecessary magnifying glass on a tiny incident that didn’t impact the game at all, g ranted, the ball struck Godfrey and Iheanacho’s arm, right? So play on. But this is VAR, and not every decision is as straight forward and rationally thought-out as you’d expect. Instead of playing on or even awarding a handball against Norwich (seeing as though the ball hit Godfrey’s arm first), the video referee did the unthinkable.
After over two minutes of deliberation (that’s right, you thought The Bunker in the NRL was bad) the goal was ultimately chalked off. Iheanacho was denied a brilliant moment, Leicester were denied a chance to undoubtedly cement their place in the top four and the fans were denied their moment to truly let it all go — to passionately celebrate a goal.
What’s it going to come down to? Will fans stop celebrating goals in fear that it could be disallowed before the restart? As the camera panned out, even the relegation-battling Norwich fans looked baffled by the decision.
“We think it’s very, very harsh,” said Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers after the game. “I’m not sure exactly what the ruling is, but obviously it hits their player’s arms first”. “I’ve watched a lot of games this week in the Champions League and Europa League and they seem to get to the decisions much quicker than they do in the Premier League.”
This is what I’m talking about, this is why VAR has to go! Forget the stupid lines and fancy graphics that tell you how many millimetres offside a player is. Forget the countless off-the-ball incidents and red card tackles missed by VAR, what really upsets us fans is if you take away our goals — that’s when things start getting seriously toxic, as now my natural reaction is disappointment, why? Because we’re being cheated.