“In defiance of a growing backlash against the introduction of Video Assistant Referees to the sport, the International Football Association Board took the historic decision to incorporate them into the Laws of the Game at its annual general meeting at Fifa’s Zurich headquarters.”
And I suppose to the Telegraph writer all one can say is, you should not believe all your read in the English papers.
“Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, also vowed to forge ahead with plans to use VAR at this summer’s World Cup, even though he and his fellow IFAB voters conceded two years of trials had failed to eliminate some of the teething problems that saw it branded “an absolute shambles” during Tottenham Hotspur’s FA Cup fifth-round replay win over Rochdale.”
Except that what Fifa seems to be saying is that the shambles is of the Premier League’s officials own making, in part because they have come into VAR a year later than most and in part because their refereeing is “a shambles”.
Just to see how far the Telegraph will take this we can take that it added that the vote of IFAB (the organisation that changes the rules of football – and which is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland, representing the founders of the game and of international football, and Fifa representing, well, Fifa) “was described as ‘unanimous.”
By which I meant to point out that “unanimous” was placed in inverted commas by the Telegraph. Which raises the question, when is a unanimous vote not a unanimous vote? The fact is the one person who might have been inclined to vote against it was the chief executive of the Welsh FA, Jonathan Ford. He later said in an interview that he had been “sceptical” beforehand but had been won over by “overwhelming” evidence from about 1,000 VAR matches worldwide.
But perhaps the point Fifa were trying to make was that PGMO didn’t get a vote.
Infantino of Fifa and Martin Glenn of the FA have how each allegedly stated that a rejection by the Premier League during a vote of its clubs “would be a major issue”, but have also said using VAR “would make even more sense” in “the most valuable league in the world”, where “a bad decision has got disproportionate cost”.
A final decision on using video technology at the World Cup will be taken by Fifa shortly and of this Infantino said he would propose its introduction saying, “The most important competition in the world, which is the World Cup, in 2018, can certainly not afford to be decided on a potential mistake of a referee. We are living in a digital age, a fast-paced age, and we cannot be oblivious to technological advance.”
What’s more big-screen replays of incidents that are decided by VAR will be shown in this summer’s world cup.
The chief executive of the Welsh FA, Jonathan Ford, confirmed he had been “sceptical” beforehand but had been won over by “overwhelming” evidence from about 1,000 VAR matches worldwide.
So why does England stand alone? Is it because
a) PL referees are so silly that they just can’t operate the system properly
b) PL officials want to hide what is going on in PGMO refereeing (either in terms of its incompetence or its corruption)
c) Everyone else is wrong and the PL is right – as is the case when it comes to how one organises refereeing in a senior competition?
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