What Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce had to say on the EFL’s decision to not use VAR in the Championship play-off final

Steve Bruce, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, has branded the English Football League's decision to not use the video assistant referee (VAR) system in the 2019 Championship play-off final as "ridiculous".

Friday, 5th April 2019, 13:04 pm
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 19:36 pm

The EFL ruled out of the use of VAR earlier this week, despite an estimated £180million windfall for the winners of the showpiece fixture.

The decision has been taken because VAR has not been in operation in the league competition, but goal-line technology will be used during the match at Wembley on May 27.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce

Bruce told The Star: "It is disappointing I have to say. In fact, it borders on ridiculous if they have got VAR.

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"As we have seen with so many games, it is going to be a big addition.

"There are too many big games where big decisions are missed."

The 58-year-old is convinced his Aston Villa team would have beaten Fulham in the play-off final last year had defender Ryan Fredericks been sent off for stamping on Jack Grealish in the first half.

"If VAR had been involved in the last play-off final, Aston Villa would have been in the Premier League because the boy would have been sent off after 20 minutes for stamping on Grealish," said Bruce, whose Wednesday team are just four points off the play-off positions with seven matches remaining.

He also pointed to Chelsea's controversial opener against Cardiff City last weekend as an example of where VAR would have eradicated an officiating error.

Bruce said: "I'm all for VAR because ultimately it gives you the right decision.

"At the end of the day, you are going to get some that go for you and some that don't.

"But for me, VAR, in a big final like that with what is at stake, it should be a stick on to use it."

While he accepts the VAR system is not a ull-proof system, Bruce believes it will help eliminate refereeing howlers.

"Like everything, it is going to have teething problems," he said. "We have to get it right and it has to be quicker.

"On the big decisions, they are going to get the vast majority of them right. There are still going to be one or two it doesn't get right.

"But big offsides like we saw the other day (at Chelsea), the Grealish incident when the boy stamped on him, they are going to see that and that changes games."