Scrap VAR for all subjective decisions – Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire has called for changes to VAR’s use in the Premier League next season and says it should be scrapped for incidents involving penalties and red cards.

The Manchester United and England defender is the first leading player to speak out against video technology since Wolves tabled a resolution this week calling for a vote on whether the system should be scrapped.

Maguire, who says his fellow players are “split” on the issue, believes VAR is too subjective and stifles goal celebrations, and should only be retained to rule on offside decisions.

Maguire told The Sun: “Personally, I would keep VAR but for offsides only. I would scrap it for everything that is opinion-based. Offsides are factual and not subjective.

“Everyone makes mistakes, linesmen make mistakes, so that is why I would keep VAR for that. But I would not have it for red cards or penalties because even now, people disagree if a decision is right or wrong.

“I think it is going to divide opinion and a lot of people will want to keep it. Some players want to get rid of it. VAR offsides do kill goal celebrations a bit. In the back of your mind, players think whether or not it is a goal.”

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag does not believe it is possible to find a “way back” from video technology while Liverpool are understood to retain faith in the system.

That is despite the latter club being on the wrong end of one of the highest-profile officiating errors of the season, when a Luis Diaz goal at Tottenham in October was wrongly ruled out after miscommunication between on-field referee Simon Hooper and VAR Darren England.

When asked about the VAR debate, Ten Hag said: “I don’t think there is a way back. So, in principle it makes the football more fair but there are some problems.

“I think we have to find solutions for those problems, so we have to make improvements.”

Meanwhile, PA understands there will be no discussion or vote among Championship clubs about introducing VAR into the second tier next season.

Witnessing the Premier League’s experience is understood to be a factor that has contributed to a collective lack of enthusiasm among Championship clubs, along with cost considerations.

The Football Supporters’ Association posted details of its summer 2023 survey on Thursday morning, which included questions to the respondents around attitudes to VAR.

It found only one in 20 (5.5 per cent) of fans who had experienced VAR in stadiums rated their experience of it as good or very good.

Almost two-thirds (63.3 per cent) were against its continued use, with 91.9 per cent criticising the length of time taken to make decisions and 95 per cent saying the removal of spontaneity from goal celebrations was a chief concern.

The Premier League says it fully supports the continued use of VAR but acknowledges the need for improvements.


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