The game is too emotional, and the experience within the stadium too important, for it to be reined in by a system that does not cater for either
One of the most striking aspects of the rolling-out of video assistant referees in English football over the last week is the almost daily reminder of the powerfully collegiate nature of referees. Gathered in significant numbers the refereeing community will come on like a particularly strident all-male lobbying group, flaring their neck muscles, explaining their judgments in that strangely tetchy technical language, asserting their right to be respected and supported with an air of lingering threat, like Fathers For Justice in shorts. This is their time now. And they’re going to fiddle with their ear and look stern and pensive for just about as long as it takes.
The other striking thing about VAR only became clear to me on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge as it was used for only the third time inside an English football stadium. The fact is, for all the expertise, the manpower, the money spent, VAR just doesn’t work in football. It diminishes the experience of watching in the stadium. It skews the game decisively one way. It is one of those ideas, like bendy buses, or communism, that would simply be better off abandoned.