VAR is simply too good - and that is bad: Martin Smith

VAR - Vindictive, Authoritarian, Relentless.

Sunday, 9th June 2019, 11:31 pm
Updated Monday, 10th June 2019, 5:20 pm
Jesse Lingards goal against Holland is ruled out
Jesse Lingards goal against Holland is ruled out

We didn’t really want robots running football we just wanted better refereeing.

Now we’re stuck with Dalek decision-making.

Yes, this is sour grapes. 

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Not sour because of the disallowing of Jesse Lingard’s ‘winner’ against Holland on Thursday or Callum Wilson’s against Switzerland on Sunday -  though those were particularly tart vintages.

No, sour grapes because it’s just too good.

Another digital smart-arse in a world of algorithmically driven, hair-trigger, in-your-face digital smart-arses.

Goals, games, and tournaments being decided by an on-screen red line that determines whether it was the attacker’s toe or defender’s fingertip that crossed it first feels like a cold, dead hand on the living pulse of sport.

We’ll soon learn not to no longer celebrate a goal with a fleeting glance at the linesman or referee as we leap from our seats. 

We’ll develop a two-tier cheering system to cope with VAR’s back-dated, disruptive tyranny. 

That guttural roar of excitement as the ball hits the net will slowly be replaced by the half-cheer of a non-sporty mum or grandad who’s not sure it’s the right time to celebrate but wants to join in.

Then there’ll be a second cheer of relief to celebrate the robot-approved version of the goal.

VAR seemed like a good idea, I was all for it.

Why should the only people in the world who really NEED to know what happened - ie the referee and players -  be the only ones who don’t know while the rest of the 5G globe has already watched eight replays?

Yes it prevents injustice, most of the time, but it also prevents spontaneity, and the full gush of emotion that has made watching football so bewitching and addictive for 160 years-plus.


Thoroughly modern transfer plans for Wednesday’s prospective German defender Julian Börner

Reports suggest 28-year-old Börner will be subletting his German home and plans to return once his daughter reaches school age.

Impressively thorough, excellent forward-planning.

If he organises a back four the way he organises his life then Wednesday might be on to a winner.


The Women’s World Cup had a brilliant first weekend with some excellent football, great goals and virtuoso skills.

More that 47,000 watched favourites France demolish South Korea 4-0 but only 13,188 saw England beat Scotland, which is a bit disappointing.

At least there was no ‘traditional’ footage of baton-wielding, table-scattering  police wading into boozy England fans in Nice.

But of course there was from Portugal...