SWANNY'S WORLD OF SPORT: If only VAR could persuade players to stop cheating
Many people are missing the point about VAR (video assistant referees).
While players are committed to non-stop cheating, football will be impossible to police no matter how much technology is introduced.
Sure, offsides and goalline disputes will be sorted impressively quickly, but the judgement on penalty decisions will remain debatable because you can’t trust the players involved, the officials staring at a screen or the increasingly ludicrous pundits and co-commentators employed by TV and radio stations.
Jermaine Jenas was adamant Cheatsea striker Alvaro Morata didn’t dive and should have had a penalty in the FA Cup tie against Norwich at Stamford Bridge last week. Thankfully referee Graham Scott agreed with the rest of the world and ended up showing a second yellow card to the disgusting Morata for his dissent towards the diving decision.
Jenas, like so many ex-professional footballers (Danny Murphy is probably the worst) is a firm believer in ‘any contact is a foul so therefore a player is entitled to go down’ theory which would be shot down by anyone who has completed week one of referee training. Football is a contact sport and as such not all contact is a foul. Jenas is confusing football with netball.
Morata could have stayed on his feet and tried to score (mind you given his recent form there was only a small chance that would happen).
As could Willian in the game’s most contentious moment, but as always players prefer to put into practice their acting and stumbling skills (I swear old Norman Wisdom videos of him stumbling around are shown in training) in ever more artistic attempts to win penalties and, as an added bonus, get an opponent sent off.
Because of the over-excitement shown by the media towards the first matches to use VAR, Pedro’s appalling attempt to cheat earlier in that match was given far less prominence than it deserved.
Clearly yellow cards for simulation are not effective enough. Cheating remains the most disturbing habit in our game. It’s far more worrying than incompetent officials.
The mass media frenzy towards VAR hasn’t made the system any clearer for the fans who, let’s face it, deserve a level of accuracy to match the high price of tickets. There was a distinct lack of common sense between those determined to see it work (BT Sport) and those who seemed happy to see it fail (Alan ‘Shambles’ Shearer on Match of the Day.
My own view hasn’t changed from a couple of weeks ago. It’s become a necessary evil if we want to see more correct decisions (which is something we all want surely)?
But be prepared for the game to become as slow-moving as rugby union (which is something no-one wants surely?) as video refs start interfering at every opportunity.
There’s every chance a match between Cheatsea and Crystal Palace could take over two hours, providing Wilfried Zaha is playing for Palace.