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Why is the footballing media are so petrified of the word “why”?

By Tony Attwood

Why did the Premier League introduce VAR a year later than most other leagues?

And why is its introduction in England causing so much dissent even though the officials had so much more time to get it sorted than most of the rest of Europe?

Two perfectly reasonable questions it seems to me, and yet not questions that are being asked.

Which is odd, because not many people would argue that VAR has been a huge success in the Premier League.   In fact, with referees refusing en masse to look at the pitch side monitors that exist and which are used in virtually all other leagues, PGMO has, as ever gone its own way.   And a very odd way it is.  And again we might ask, “why?”

The idea of VAR was that if an issue wasn’t clear they could have a quick look at a monitor and get an extra view then trot back within seconds and give a decision.  But no, that’s not how it works in England.  What we have is Arsenal being denied a third goal against Palace because…. well make up your own reason.

In fact, VAR, in terms of Arsenal, is giving us more wrong decisions, not fewer wrong decisions.   Of course, when the media complain about VAR they become all coy, not wishing to break the secret code they have signed up to with PGMO that the referee must never ever be criticised.   So the media says that the current use of VAR (upon which they have to say something since it is the thing many of us are choosing to talk about all day long) results in (as the Guardian coyly put it) “spontaneity is being sucked out of matches.”

As opposed to “VAR is being used as a way to justify utterly wrong decisions and to stop certain teams winning.”    Of course no one in the media is allowed to think that (otherwise the Thought Police will come and remove them from their beds in the middle of the night before exporting them to Venezuala).

But the Guardian did get as far as saying, “it is introducing travesties into games instead of clearing them up.”   And that’s not a bad start.  It was a shame it was just a start with no finish, but still, it was something, no matter how small.

So the media won’t say that VAR is being used to put forward a decision that is utterly wrong (which it clearly was in the match against Palace) but that it is a “nitpickers’ charter”.   It’s a bit like calling the Nazis a “bunch of hearty roughs”.

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In fact that Guardian’s analysis went into total weird land when they looked at the issue saying that “The couple of major stadiums still without big screens – Anfield and Old Trafford – will just have to install them. It’s called progress.”

Err, no guys.   At the Palace game, nothing, nothing and nothing came up on the screens at the ground at all, as Arsenal were deprived of a legitimate victory.  Screens are irrelevant.  Stop changing the subject to talk about irrelevances.  It is why increasing numbers of us have stopped believing what you publish.

And then, as if clearly realising that they were making no case at all, at that point in the article they put the headline

Then they went on to say, “The other aspect of VAR that urgently needs discussing is the number of perfectly good goals that have been disallowed for microscopic measurements of offside. The technology is at its most nitpicky and intrusive in this area, and there is simply no need for replays to be pored over again and again just to establish that someone was ahead of the offside line by a knee or a big toe.”

But at the Palace game, Arsenal’s third goal was disallowed for nothing that any of us could see on the big screen when we got home and watched it again on Match of the Day.   Even the MotD presenters could not see anything wrong!

(Shall I repeat that: Even the MotD presenters could not see anything wrong!   And this is MotD presenting a discussion on a disallowed Arsenal goal.  That has never happened before).

Now it would have been good if the Guardian had then considered who has implemented VAR in this curious way, considering the hyper-secret PGMO and their reasons for delaying the implementation of VAR for a year after it came in, in the rest of Europe.  But they didn’t.

For suddenly they sought to distract our attention from VAR with the notion that the “offside law itself needs looking at,” before taking us back to an issue involving Keane at Brighton.

And why do that?  Because they were getting awfully close to saying Arsenal were robbed of two points, and that PGMO has totally screwed up, for reasons that will not become clear at this point.

But they wouldn’t say that, would they?   No, at least, not without first telling all their journalists about that little word: “Why?”   And that will never happen.

14 comments to Why is the footballing media are so petrified of the word “why”?

  • doesn’t parliament get even a little curious about these things Tony? do members watch football?

  • Gord

    Above, Tony has:

    as if atmosphere was important when we were discussing the corruption of the game through false decisions being justified by fake technology.

    I would offer the following:

    as if atmosphere was important when we were discussing the corruption of the game through false decisions being justified by fake technology
    and fake experts.

    —-

    As far as alternatives to Xhaka for captain, I wasn’t and will not be interested. Nor am I interested in having Mourinho become Arsenal’s manager at some point.

    As far as player of the month goes, I would like to see Vivienne Miedema get the nod.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    @Gord. I would whole heartedly support that. 52 club goals now in 50 starts. A phenomenal goal scoring record for any player, particularly as she has only just turned 23.. seven goals, including home and away hat-tricks across the two legs against Slavia Prague the Czech champions. Whoever of Barcelona, olympique Lyonnaise, Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Athletico Madrid, PSG or Glasgow City we get drawn against in the Quarter Finals will certainly know they are in for a tough match.

  • Menace

    Let’s just take the VAR aside and call it ‘off field PGMOL officiating’. Its purpose is to assist the on field PGMOL officials to come to an agreed resolution for an acceptable result.

    ‘Acceptable to who?’ one might ask. The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.

    But VAR is proven technology!! Yes it is proven to give one a vision of the field of play in a variety of angles so as to capture the truth for the on field official in case he missed it. If he did miss it he is supposed to go over to a screen on the side of the pitch to verify his view….. not to verify the view of anyone else, as in this game, there is only one referee (aka God).

    But our referees never go to the pitch side screen to verify their view! Yes, that is true because in this game there are more than one person in God. The first being Michael the Riley and then those given the gift of selective vision dressed in black to stike the fear of satan in those that question their authority.

    So there you have it. Corruption on Biblical scale.

  • Masterstroke

    There were some of us here who thought that VAR should not have been introduced to the PL this year as it was very obviously not ready (following the mess of the World Cup). I’ve been of the opinion that the FA didn’t want it this season but were harassed by national press & blogs who insisted on putting an unfinished product into effect ASAP just to in line with the rest of Europe.
    I’m not sure about the ‘secret code’, because if there is one (and it’s so secret), then how do you know about it? In my opinion there has never been any arrangements between the FA, PL & the media, unless of course there is some hard evidence to the contrary.

  • Masterstroke

    It’s a shame because the VAR technology is very good, but flawed by the human element.

  • Menace

    Andrew – The Arsenal Ladies were robbed of an accolade when they won every match in a season bar one draw in Europe. The year that the Ryder Cup Team won team of the year on the BBC.

    Miedema is an absolute class finisher and deserves headlines in all sporting press but she plays for Arsenal so it is dimmed down.

    Walmart should have her on billboards across the USA. It will show these narrow minded press up.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Hmmm. Everyone has his own personal opinion and is entitled to to air it provided it will not unjustly cost someone something.

    Xhaka to continue as the Arsenal captain and remain at the club beyond next January transfer window? No Sir! Not after the gross abusive deeds he has done to Arsenal fans at the Ems when coming off during a PL match. And his failure to tender an apology unreservedly and publicly in the media to the Ems Arsenal fans whom he has insulted. But why hadn’t he apologise despite being strongly advised by the club’s hierarchy bosses to do so? Which if he has any resemblance of remorse in him he should have even tender an apology in time on his own to the Ems Arsenal fans he abused. But five day on after he has abused them, Xhaka has not expressed any apology to the Ems Arsenal faithfuls. Again but WHY? Is it because he has made Millions of Pound Sterling in wages at Arsenal and has now become rich? To the extent his money riches made at Arsenal have turned his head to become arrogant, stubborn, disrespectful, insulting and unapologetic? Under these inherent behaviours that are obviously inherent seemingly in Xhaka, it will be absurd if he remains the Arsenal captain and not shipped out in January by the club for his obstinate to them.

    I think the PGMO, alias the PIGMOB did not introduce the VAR that is now widely known as the Video Assistant Riggers into the PL last season because the majority of the PL club sides save, Arsenal and Man Utd I think voted to delay the implementation of it till this season. But the PIGMOB used the delay to buy time to perfect their strategy on how best they can continue with their cheating of Arsenal in their PL matches. Which they’ve been doing successful before the introduction of the VAR into the PL matches this season to aid match officiating but purportedly. Hence, the PIGMOB match officiating officials refusal en masse to be viewing the pitch side monitors under the instruction of the PGMO kingpin Mike Riley. So that the elite match officiating referees who often are selected to officiate in Arsenal matches in the PL will continue to pigmob on Arsenal in their PL matches.

    Therefore, it has not come as a surprise to us Gooners who know what has been cooking and on ground at the PGMO when they used the Video Assistant Riggers to chalk off Arsenal legitimate winning goal in their home match against Crystal Palace last Sunday so that Arsenal will be restricted in points garnering in the table to not win the PL title again during Mike Riley’s tenure as the PGMO chieftain. For, he has appeared to have sworn to an oath to be denying Arsenal anytime they are rising higher in the table.

  • John L

    Hi Samuel,

    As you say, people are entitled to hold different opinions.

    I agree entirely with you regarding VAR, PGMOL and Riley.

    I disagree entirely with you regarding Granit Xhaka, who, in my view, has nothing to apologise for and should continue as Arsenal captain.

  • Chris

    I believe the 1 year delay was there to figure out a way to use VAR for PGMOL purposes.
    And now they take their book from trumpian psychology : lie blatantly and keep lying even if you revert yourself doing so.
    People are so stupid they forget you said white a minute ago and are believing you said black becuase you just said it.
    Just keep on lying and not bother about what people might think. Fact is they don’t.

    And guess what : it works a helle of a lot better then saying the truth or trying to justify,
    Just look to the White Hose or Nr 10 and you have your daily load of proofs by example.

  • Les Williams

    @Chris Spot on. PIGMOB and the media also quote rules that do not exist.

  • Gord

    Why the Carabao Cup nonsense?

    I think the fixture congestion issue for Liverpool is just another example of the various football administrative organizations making up rules as they go along.

    It would appear that they are going to give whatever team is drawn against Liverpool!! a by in the next round if Liverpool!! cannot play the game.

    Let’s look at a slightly different situation. What would happen if Liverpool made it to the final of this Cup, and couldn’t attend? Would the trophy be handed over to their competition (in effect, a by)? I don’t think so.

    I don’t believe these games are televised, but they are sponsored. The sponsor gets exposure strictly by having the games, and having its name in the “news”. To hand out a by, is to remove exposure. What sponsor would agree to that? The sponsor _WANTS_ the games to occur, not for by’s to be issued.

    The first solution is to reschedule that game so that Liverpool can attend. But, this makes the possible over-training of players worse by extending the period when “too many games” are being played. If no acceptable reschedule is possible, handing Liverpool’s place to Arsenal is then the best thing to do (after all, the Liverpool v Arsenal match was highly entertaining). The reason to not do so, is that Arsenal should be restricted from success (however it is measured) as much as is possible.

  • Yilch

    Also Tony you say pgmo has gone its way when referees have opted not to look at the pitch side monitors. Where is your evidence for that statement? Have you done any research which showed that referees in other leagues have overwhelmingly turned to the pitch side monitors while they have done the opposite in the EPL?
    Finally, blaming the pgmo for the delayed use of var? Was it the pgmo or the EPL clubs that elected to delay it’s use?

  • Yilch

    Tony please let it go, you’re sounding like a broken record now. When sokratis handled the ball in our penalty area against Villa and the penalty wasn’t called, the press mentioned it and moved on. So now Sokratis goal was chalked off, they did the same thing, mentioned it and moved on. You moved on from the non penalty call, now please move on from this chalked off goal.
    Like masterstroke I doubt the presence of any agreement between the media and pgmo to not discuss ref errors. If there was how come we see the pundits discussing those possible ref errors everyday? Or they don’t do that on your TV? Don’t they broadcast the show on your TV?

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