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John Aldridge: VAR is killing the passion of football and I feel we have lost one very special part of our sport

 

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Ireland and Brighton striker Aaron Connolly was awarded a penalty after a VAR check (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Ireland and Brighton striker Aaron Connolly was awarded a penalty after a VAR check (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Ireland and Brighton striker Aaron Connolly was awarded a penalty after a VAR check (Gareth Fuller/PA)

John Aldridge believes there are 'too many holes' in the VAR technology being used in the Premier League this season, after a weekend of highly controversial decision placed a spotlight on the system once more.

Ireland striker Aaron Connolly and Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha were involved in contentious penalty decisions in the tenth round of Premier League fixtures, while Arsenal had a late winner against Palace controversially ruled out by a VAR review.

The confusion caused by the decisions has added to the debate over the future of VAR in the Premier League, with former Liverpool and Ireland striker Aldridge suggesting the reviews of every goal has stripped away the surge of elation for players and fans when a goal is scored.

"VAR is killing the passion of our game for all supporters and I really fear we are taking away one of the best moments in football by using technology that has holes all over it," states Aldridge.

"These controversial decisions that have changed the mood of all matches might well be accurate, but the joy of scoring a goal has been taken away from players and fans and I feel we have lost one very special part of our sport.

"That moment when a goal goes in is what you live for, either as a player who is fortunate enough to score or a fan who wants to experience that emotion.

"What we are seeing every week now is players and supporters who are reluctant to celebrate a goal, the idea of going back 10 or 15 seconds and trying to find a way to rule out a goal is a passion killer on the grand scale."

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VAR was called into action late on after Callum Hudson-Odoi went down the area (Anthony Devlin/PA)

VAR was called into action late on after Callum Hudson-Odoi went down the area (Anthony Devlin/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

VAR was called into action late on after Callum Hudson-Odoi went down the area (Anthony Devlin/PA)

 

Aldridge believes the decision to allow Manchester United's goal against Liverpool to stand despite what appeared to be a clear foul on Liverpool striker Divock Origi in the build-up highlighted another area of concern in the VAR debate.

"You see an incident like the foul on Origi at Old Trafford and it was clear that he was fouled and the VAR people didn't have the guts to make that call," he added. "Even if the referee has made a mistake and missed the tackle, VAR should be there to help him right that wrong.

"Instead, you have a less experienced observer looking at the video evidence and reluctant to overrule the decision of a more experienced referee in Martin Atkinson.

"We can all understand how that happens. You are working your way up the refereeing ladder and don’t want to embarrass one of the big boys at the top of the Premier League tree, but Stevie Wonder would have struggled to miss that incident with Origi last weekend.

"I was really looking forward to VAR coming into the Premier League as it has been my belief for a long time that a lot of them are not up to the job, but this technology has created more problems than any of us imagined and I just hope changes are made to ensure we don’t take the joy out of the game."

Online Editors