Sheffield United and Norwich City bosses suggest it is time to scrap VAR

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, appeared to call for VAR to be scrapped following his team’s victory over Norwich City, despite acknowledging the controversial system had spared Chris Basham a red card.

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 9:32 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (centre) and Norwich City manager Daniel Farke (left) on the touchline during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

United climbed to eighth in the Premier League table, seven points clear of the relegation zone, after goals from Enda Stevens and George Baldock overturned Alex Tettey’s strike for the hosts.

But the match at Carrow Road was overshadowed by an incident involving the video referee, when Basham’s sending-off was downgraded to a caution by the officials at Stockley Park.

Wilder’s counterpart Daniel Farke expressed his frustration with the way matches are now being governed, labelling City’s experiences of it a “disaster”.

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The big screen shows no red card following a VAR check during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PA Photo. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A long-standing critic himself, Wilder noted how both sets of supporters voiced their displeasure with VAR throughout the contest, saying: “Twenty eight or 19 thousand singing the same thing.

“It is a reaction to the way it has changed the game and how it has changed the game. I know sometimes we don’t get classed as the brightest up north but we can be pretty smart you know.

“That was a tough game, one of the toughest we’ve had. We’re up to eighth. And yet again, the first thing I’m asked is about VAR when I come into the room.

“The percentage we are looking at improving, that’s not balanced by the other bits. I am a traditionalist and I love the game.

“I love the atmosphere and the competitive aspects of it. I love people playing proper football and different styles of football. But now, the game has lost a little bit for me because of this. Hopefully we can regain it.”

Farke, who cut an exasperated figure afterwards, claimed VAR should not have intervened because Simon Hooper’s on the pitch assessment of Basham’s challenge on McLean “wasn’t a clear or obvious mistake.”

Wilder responded by suggesting the City midfielder had ‘made the most’ of the incident, but said: “He went in aggressive, yes. I’ve got the best view in the house and I can’t tell if he’s caught him or not.

“There was the reaction of the player, which we have to be careful about. But again, I don’t think the percentages of improving it are bringing anything to the game.

“Momentum is a big thing as well. We had huge momentum. I think we’re doing a disservice to the officials and we’ve got some top ones.”