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Championship VAR?

The EFL Championship is hailed as “the 5th biggest league in Europe”. Watching the EFL highlights tonight there have been so many refereeing errors today & last night that maybe VAR would improve these very poor decisions?

I was actually quite sceptical initially about VAR but there have been so many errors in the last 24 hours that the alternative is even worse.

Wycombe should have had a penalty for handball today at Swansea, Watford’s disallowed equaliser at Luton should have stood and how Derby didn’t get a late penalty at Blackburn is beyond me when their player was completely cleaned out. Sheffield Wednesday’s penalty (although saved) wasn’t a penalty & Lansbury shouldn’t have been sent off as he never touched the ball, although initially it appeared he did.

If promotion to the Premier League is worth £50m the number of terrible decisions needs to be minimised. Referees are only human but far too many bad decisions are spoiling the 5th biggest league in Europe.



  • VAR is the worst thing to ever happen to football

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  • Plenty of VAR decisions are awful too.

    I don’t care if TGFSP* have spotted a knee that’s offside or a brush of ‘contact’. I don’t even care if these are technically infringements. We all know that a goal being disallowed because someone’s knee is an inch offside in a freeze frame is not football. None of us really believe a centre forward, swan-diving as if shot, deserves a penalty because someone’s bootlace made contact with his sock.

    Every time a goal is scored in the Premier League it’s the first thing you think of. Some ref fiddling with his earpiece while Jonathan Pearce screams ‘Michael Oliver wants him to take a look’, draining all the spontaneity, the joy and the outrage out of the game. And it takes forever.

    It can get in the bin as far as I’m concerned.

    *The Guys At Stockley Park

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  • I don’t think the level of refereeing at Championship level is as good as it is in the lower two divisions. We just need better referees.

    Oh and much less cheating. No club can complain while they cheat so much

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  • Just more scrutiny because every game has TV coverage, isn't it?

  • The Championship has 18 Select Group 2 referees - deemed to be 'the best of the rest'

  • It’s a big no from me, the breaks in play it introduces to games are incredibly awkward and you’re still not guaranteed the right decision.

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  • VAR a total NO but I'd go for goal line technology, more retrospective video evidence punishment for diving/conning the Ref and the reverse for incorrect decisions/cards.

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  • @Right_in_the_Middle said:
    I don’t think the level of refereeing at Championship level is as good as it is in the lower two divisions. We just need better referees.

    Oh and much less cheating. No club can complain while they cheat so much

    I would agree about the gamesmanship but disagree about the official. I think refereeing is much better up here than some of clowns in L1! We've been very unlucky with decisions in some games, have failed to threaten in some games and have failed to see out games when we've had a lead. That's really why we are where we are in my opinion.

  • I've been watching Wycombe since the 80's, but much as it would break my heart, I really would consider not going to games if VAR was introduced at a level we were playing at. Football has ceased to become a sport I enjoy watching at the top level because of VAR.

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  • Diving should be punished by having to play the rest of the game as high as @LX1 on a Wednesday night.

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  • VAR is terrible and operated by the same people that are so poor with their decision making. It just prolongs the pain. Agree with other thoughts above, keep goal line technology but no further.

  • @AlanCecil said:
    The Championship has 18 Select Group 2 referees - deemed to be 'the best of the rest'

    Interesting snippet from that link “outside speakers help to develop a knowledge of team tactics.”

    I wonder how far that goes?

    For example speaker comes in and says:

    Look at Team X - the main Tactic is direct to a big man upfront who will look for to pick up the end ball or get free kicks in a dangerous area.

    Maybe I am reading too much into that but I can’t see it being that helpful in referees learning about a teams tactics too much. They should be officiating the game based on the rule book and what they see rather than any bias that may creep in from previous occasions.

  • @drcongo said:
    Diving should be punished by having to play the rest of the game as high as @LX1 on a Wednesday night.

    I was under the impression that was the criteria needed to be a VAR assessor

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  • VAR could be very good for the game, but not in the way it is currently being applied, and I would not like my team subjected to it, in its current form, preferring to concentrate on better training for referees. I know this has been discussed on the Gasroom at length, but these are my objections.

    1) It should only be applied for "clear and obvious errors", we know that it is not from the miniscule calculations involved in offsides. Anyway, the video technology does not appear to be accurate enough for such small measurements. When they freeze frame the kick for an offside, it seems to be "best guess", they don't zoom in to get a clear frame of exactly when the ball is kicked. That is needed if they are measuring if the player is offside in millimetres, and that player is also subjected to the same less than precise measurement.
    2) When a goal is scored now, nobody can properly celebrate until VAR has cleared it. That brief, intense moment of ecstasy, when the ball hits the net, is lost. Football is all about scoring, it doesn't happen that often compared to other sports, so when it does it needs to be celebrated to the full and in the moment.
    3) It sometimes takes far too long to come to a decision, which of course undermines the "clear and obvious error" argument.
    3) VAR sometimes get their decision clearly wrong, that should not be happening.

  • Has your account been hacked @A_Worboys ? You've been a spectator for the best part of half a century but you're now posting suggestions right out of the mouths of football chairman/managers/journalists. Football, even with all its flaws and mistakes, has been great entertainment for 100+ years. The introduction of VAR has just sucked much of the drama out of it for stadium going spectators. Enjoy live football for what it is - a bit of theatre.

  • Hesitate to contradict someone with such a daunting username but (and I’m assuming that you are not just being flippant) to dismiss a multi-billion business as “a bit of theatre” seems a bit rich!

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  • I agree with @Wycombe85 some of the fantastic goals I seen written off is just soul destroying for fans and managers. I don't even know how the players stand it! And they are still getting things WRONG!! Most of the TV pundits would have had much much poorer records had they played under VAR.

  • Some interesting responses to this discussion. However, I think it has now got so bad that something needs to be done. How about 4 linesmen, two on each side? It does seem a bit odd that you have one linesman running half the pitch on one side while the referee runs a diagonal to cover the other half. Football is so much faster now than it used to be.

    I get to see a few Premier League games & whilst I admit VAR does play too big a part and delays the game too much, maybe there is an abbreviated format that could help. Or how about a pitch-side monitor for the referee to review a decision - each manager would have one review challenge per game. That wouldn’t really have the same delay effect as VAR going back to Stockley Park but it might be a way of getting rid of refereeing howlers. Wycombe have suffered from some dire decisions this season which have cost us dearly. It’s very easy to say “get better referees” but where are they going to come from? The FA are struggling with recruiting numbers as it is already.

  • Couple of interesting one's there Andy. I've often wondered about extra assistant refs and I quite like the idea of 1 manager review per game (reset if agreed with).

  • Four linesmen. So that’s two more standing around waiting for the ref to make a decision before flagging.

    The only thing I’d support is the previously mentioned punishments for blatant cheating. Won’t hold up the match and will stamp it out in weeks.

  • The arguments for and against VAR are well rehearsed.

    A couple of things I don’t understand assuming VAR will exist
    1) why do some people have a preference for the match referee making the decision squinting into a console by the pitch rather than an equally qualified ref making the decision with an appropriately lit multi screened environment.

    2) some decisions will inevitably be incredibly tight, so tight that the human eye has no chance of making a decision accurately. Even the machine may only have a 70% chance of being right. Why does cricket in these cases choose to go with the 50% accurate human eye rather than the 70% machine? Seems daft to me.

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  • You've just made those percentage figures up haven't you?

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  • Yes of course. There will be decisions for example whether a ball bowled at 90 mph swinging in will just clip the edge of the leg stump that are so tight that the human eye really cant judge and essentially has to guess with a 50% chance of being right.

    I would have thought it was self evident that the machine has a better chance of getting that judgement right but even it cant be sure.

    Is your argument that if there was a reasonable chance of wrong decision being made, you would rather go with human fraility rather than machine or are you really arguing that you believe the human eye (that may be tired after four hours in a hot sun doing the job) is really likely to be more accurate most of the time?

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  • Simply because it is sport.

    If we want to watch computers playing games - be it football, cricket, golf or whatever - program them using machine learning and let them play a season in a day. I’m sure there will be fans queuing out of the stadium doors to watch on big screens.

    People make sport. And it is players and adjudicators that do this whatever the game

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  • Interesting view Carrick.

    I agree I have no interest in E "sport". The joy of watching sport is the drama and struggle including the human fraility. For me that doesn't extend to the referees. Couldn't care less in principle whether that is done by human or computer as long as the balance is found between getting decisions made as correctly as possible as quickly as possible..

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  • Interesting view? @DevC I it hard to believe thats not the view of a majority of fans of a majority of sports.

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  • My argument against is that the beauty of sport is that the rules are the same whatever the level. If we can’t have VAR at the local park then we shouldn’t have differently at the top level either?

  • I think I found a missing find in your last post @Wendoverman.

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  • Machines are fine when there is a simple and factual event - did the ball cross the line (ie tennis, goal-line technology) but less accurate when you add a second variable, for example was player A ahead of player B when player C made contact with the ball and basically useless when you add a third variable, for example did the player mean their hand to touch the ball.

    So we’ve had to amend the rules to take variables out. Does anyone seriously think the current handball and offside rules are better for the game than they were 10 years or so ago?

    We are ruining the game in my opinion for a flawed process that affects a few dozen football owners and TV companies

  • I think you make the mistake there of conflating the current offside and handball rule with VAR. The timing if their introduction to this country and the timing of VAR are coincidental. FIFA has been struggling with the offisde rule and the handball rule for ages and changed handball recently in response to a number of goals that resulted from an accidental but decisive handball. I agree they haven't got the rule right. I am not clear in my head what it should be though.

    VAR does not make the decisions nor should it. It simply shows the referee what happened. As such it can cope perfectly well in subjective decisions. So if we went back
    to a "deliberate hand ball " rule, VAR could show the referee did the ball hit the players hand, did he move his hand towards the ball, it would be fr the referee armed with information about what actually happened to make the judgements on the facts rather than having to form that judgement on a fleeting glimpse possibly obscured at the critical moment but someone running across his line.

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