When criticizing the use of the video assistant referee (VAR) in soccer, it’s important — appreciated, at minimum — to be constructive in doing so.
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In other words, “VAR is stupid, get rid of it” doesn’t accomplish a whole lot in terms of making your audience receptive to anything else you might say. Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo saw his side become the latest to come down on the wrong side of an incredibly narrow, potentially controversial reversal via video review on Friday, yet he delivered his post-game comments on the incident in a calm and collected manner.
The gist of his case for Wolves’ disallowed goal to have counted: Sure, Pedro Neto had a toe in an offside position, but what advantage was gained by doing so considering he was hurriedly shuffling toward and onside position as part of a short corner kick routine? The larger question that Nuno gets to is this: Does the offside rule exist for players simply existing in an offside position, or to prevent players from gaining an advantage by being in an offside position? (quotes from the BBC)
“It is reality now but each time it happens it upsets you. When you see the images, there is not a clear advantage but the law is the law. I am positive about the reaction of the professionals and the fans, but something has to be done. Let those who understand do something to have the joy of celebrating. We in danger of becoming robots.”
“It is not about frustration but realising what we did in the game and now analyze to say, ‘We could (have won).’ Leicester had possession in the first half but did not create, we scored in the first half and dominated a very good team. The boys created many chances but it requires more work from us to complete the actions.”
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 14, 2020
Of course, adding language to the rule stating that offside should only be called if a player gains an advantage from his position on the field would only add another layer of interpretation and discretion for the crew of referees to consider and attempt to decipher.