Exclusive: Stan Collymore blasts VAR and calls for technology to be scrapped

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Video Assistant Referees (VAR) should be removed from the Premier League.

That is the view of former Aston Villa and Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore, who believes the technology is doing more harm than good.

Since its introduction in the Premier League during the 2019-20 season, VAR has split fans. The technology, which involves several officials operating and reviewing in-game incidents and communicating with the on-field referee, has continually come under fire following a series of inconsistent and questionable decisions.

Although the rules of football are black and white, VAR’s interpretation of those rules has been what has caused controversy. Still depending on human input, errors are close to the same level they were at prior to its introduction, and although officials have had several seasons to get used to the processes, last weekend’s fixture list saw two major errors occur.

The games between Arsenal vs Brentford and Crystal Palace vs Brighton saw the VAR officials forget to assess the correct phase of play, resulting in two goals being awarded that otherwise should not have stood.

Reacting to VAR’s latest talking points, Collymore, who spoke in an exclusive interview, said: “What a disastrous weekend for VAR.

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“Before VAR was introduced, correct refereeing decisions were around the 98 per cent mark and now, with VAR, that number has gone up by about half a per cent, so the improvement is minimal.

“We’ve now got a situation where referees are having their natural skills blunted because they know they can always rely on VAR and you’ve got a group of other officials sat miles away in Stockley Park, who are also human beings, running the technology to help other human beings, so unless VAR is 100 per cent guaranteed to run by its self and get every single decision bang on every single time, it’s pointless having it.

“It’s a system that was supposed to come in to make more decisions correct but it’s only marginally done that. What it is doing is taking the spontaneity away from the game and the constant nit-picking is creating more debate than the actual play itself. There are some instances where we, as fans, are made to review offside offences that we can barely see with the human eye.

“It’s ridiculous and it’s making a mockery of the world’s biggest sport. In my opinion, the VAR experiment is over. It hasn’t worked and it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to work, so let’s just get rid of it and go back to how it used to be.”

Going on to offer a possible solution as to how English football can improve the standard of officiating while also not needing to rely on VAR, Collymore added: “The FA and Premier League should consider an official’s programme for released youth players so, if they want to, they can go into refereeing and aren’t just left without a career after being rejected as a player. We could give them the best training and they’d already have experience of actually playing the game. That way we might end up producing a generation of top referees that we can feel proud of.

“Maybe then we’ll get the best of both worlds by improving the percentage of correct decisions and not needing VAR. What do you say?”

Do you agree with Collymore? – Should VAR be removed from the English Premier League? – Let us know in the comments.

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