Exclusive: VAR is needed but why use refs in their 30s and 40s

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The absolute debacle surrounding the VAR decision in the recent Tottenham vs Liverpool game has reignited the debate over whether it’s the technology or those using it that aren’t fit for purpose.

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) chief, Howard Webb, has done another media round where he’s attempted to smooth over one of the worst errors we’ve seen to date, but that’s done little for the credibility of the organisation.

An organisation who routinely employ officials in their 30s and 40s who are having to keep up with the play of super-fit athletes.

That’s all wrong according to Premier League co-creator, ‘super agent’ Jon Smith.

‘Despite the furore that has again erupted around VAR, my initial thought is that it’s needed. A lot of football fans say it’s not but I’ve seen some awful decisions over the years and I’m a huge referee fan by the way. Frankly, how can you have, and why would you want, someone in their 30s or 40s trying to keep up with play when the game is being played by super fit teenagers and 20 somethings?’ he wrote in his exclusive CaughtOffside column.

‘Then those officials are having to make instant decisions when they may be 20 yards away and slightly blindsided. Decisions which are impactful on people’s lives and, in some cases, on lots of money being earned by a club or national team who are hoping to progress through to the next stage of a tournament.

‘[…] I think there’s a dichotomy here. I like VAR. I think what they did in the World Cup was along the right lines and I think we should use modern technology, but, all the things I’ve just said, I think they’re relevant to how it should be implemented.’

One surely has to ask the question of the authorities as to why they aren’t using the version of VAR that was available at the 2022 World Cup – and is used in other leagues.

It takes all of the guesswork out of the decision, which can arguably be arrived at more quickly as a result.

Like most other things that the Football Association meddle with, there’s enough bureaucratic red tape to get through to put off even the most fervent supporter, but something really does need to change.

The multi-million pound entertainment industry that football now is cannot afford to be derailed by what we’ve become accustomed to.

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