Monday, June 24, 2024

Wenger on VAR: Football has been scared, stupid and regressive

Arsene Wenger has spoken about the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR), and says that football is ‘stupid’ and ‘regressive’ for not having introduced it earlier.

The system was seen in high profile this week during an international friendly between France and Spain, and the Arsenal manager – a long time proponent of providing video assistance to officials – has welcomed its use on a number of levels.

“I watched the game against Spain, and after I thought ‘We are really stupid. Why did that not happen 15 years ago?’

“It just shows that the football is still a regressive world that is scared to move forward. And I believe that should have happened a long, long time ago.

“I was always in favour of it and I always said the first thing it should deal with is offsides, and there many impacts of that.

“First of all, that you would have come to a completely different conclusions if you didn’t have video because France would have won the game.

“Secondly, I believe as well that it will create more justice. And the third thing, it will definitely cut out all the interference and the desire to corrupt referees that exists in the world.

“This video will be a very good plan to fight against that as well.”

He certainly seems to get passionate when touching on that third point, as you can hear below.

It’s definitely a game-changer and there are suggestions that it will be trialled in England next year during the FA Cup.

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David Hillier\'s luggage

Totally agree. I was appalled by Paul Ince’s post match punditry comments about it after the France vs Spain game, highlighting the regressive nature of people in football. “Video technology is bad as it stops players celebrating” (about a goal that was offside), “we can talk about it in five years, darlin'” (in a dismissive tone to a female presenter who dare talk about the benefits)


He was generally pretty dreadful wasn’t he? At half time he was knocking Kante for not single-handedly stopping Spain’s midfield, with zero tactical consideration for how France’s midfield was set up or what the other France players were doing/not doing. I think there’s been a real step up in football punditry from publications like The Independent and The Guardian, writers like Jack Pitt-Brooke who are doing really interesting work and Michael Cox with really interesting tactical breakdowns, it would be nice to see them featured on tele sometimes rather than just churning out the old professionals. When you look at… Read more »



Runcorn Gooner

Charlie Adam may as well retire now

Runty Wilson

For the sake of humanity, Charlie Adam should retire regardless.

Spanish Gooner

I do think there should be a limit to its use though – Tony Pulis would be challenging every decision to try and eat up as much time as possible

Bob\'s Mexican Cousin

Can’t challenge decisions mate. Read up.

Loo Roll Messi

Corrupt referee’s…. well said Arsene

David C

agreed! plus we’ve all watched plenty of Barcelona games…

Remember when RVP was sent off for kicking the ball 0.25 secs after the offside whistle? That ones hard to forget for me.

Ashish Chandra

Sorry, VAR will kill EPL. As then Manu will lose half their games, and get relegated. Sky will lose interest, and EPL goose is cooked.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

You speak as if this is a bad thing. VAR will not kill football, but it will kill a lot of how the EPL continues to fabricate ‘drama’ season after season, and more importantly, it makes the game safer for the players.


Wonder why Wenger is so passionate about that last point…?

Maybe he knows something about the state of refereeing in the EPL? (PGMOB’s Mike Riley, Mike Dean, Xhaka-hating Jon Moss)

Or maybe also the UCL? (Refs of Uefalona’s matches come to mind)


It’s mainly from his time at Monaco


UEFA is like, “Can we give him a ban for that?”


Looks like I’m in a minoriity on this.

I’m not convinced by it. I feel it takes spontaneity out of the game at a time when passion in the big stadiums is already at an all time low.

Referees are human and make mistakes of course, but does that not balance out over the season? Does every decision have to be perfect? I just don’t think it will improve the game from a fan perspective.

Much prefer to see a campaign for safe standing.

I respect everyone else’s view on it and I do think it’ll happen eventually.

Gunn Cabinet

Just as an example – how did Arsenal going out to Liverpool in the 2008 Champions league balance itself out over the season? Because I remember we were floored by two penalty decisions – one that should have been given to us, and another that shouldn’t have been given against us…
Referees should be fair always. If they cannot be, then they need help.


People often worry that the spontaneity will be lost, but surely there’s no way it can be? Reviewing an offside or penalty shout won’t really affect how spontaneous the play is – just the decisions will be far, far more accurate. Can’t really see ant drawbacks tbh. I also think once it’s implemented properly, the time it takes to make decisions will get much shorter so won’t interfer with the flow as much


Yeah I’m probably just old and regressive, but waiting for the video decisions in that friendly, felt like I was watching rugby.

Hope you’re right about the time it takes.


The ref doesnt even need to stop the game for every decision. They can let play continue and ask for “a check on that play” etc, via his mic, connected to the video refs. Then if there is no problem the game continues and there is no stoppage or interruption. It only stops if there was something against the rules. Even then if there is an advantage for the opposition, the game can also still continue.


Don’t agree at all, but I can see where you’re coming from. It really boils down to whether you think justice trumps all, or sport, being largely for entertainment purposes, entertains – first and foremost.

I am coming down on the side of justice, because I put myself in the shoes of the players, who must feel gutted when they are robbed of a perfectly legitimate goal.


Case in point how Southampton felt in the League cup final after having a perfectly good goal being ruled out while having Man Utd on the ropes. The Saints striker of going into the record books for a possible hat-trick. And most of all for the Saints winning a trophy to put in their cabinet.


If it stops a player being incorrectly sent off or staying on the pitch when he should have gone it will be a good thing! It’s ok getting a ban rescinded, but it doesn’t do anything about the points lost by being a man down for however long in the game!


I think it will just take a bit of time for fans to get used to it, once they do it’ll be fine. It hasn’t damaged the atmosphere at rugby too much and they use it loads, it just adds a bit of suspense.


Hope you’re right, certainly open to a trial in the fa cup anyway, if they use it efficiently maybe it’ll work without too much interference.

Part of my concern is it’ll be overused to contest every decision.


A lot of people were against hawkeye before it was introduced in tennis, Federer even suggested he wouldn’t play tournaments that used it, but people got used to it very quickly and now fans even get excited every time there’s a hawkeye review on the big screen. VAR might seem odd now but give it a couple of years and it will just seem commonplace. Just like goal-line tech.


If the players cant argue with a video, nor the person who made the decision then surely it will speed things up?

David Hillier\'s luggage

I take your point about the loss of spontaneity, which is a very valid one, however I think after the first season any perceived interruption to the flow will have gone away through a combination of the process being refined and our perception of the structure in the break in play being less significant.

The system is no where near perfect but I feel experimenting is a step in the right direction.

Dan Hunter

Matches are stopped for fouls, injuries, throw ins and corners, why not find a way to cut those out rather than talking about how 10 seconds will be added because of an offside decision. I think video technology has been a long time coming and in fact it should be used for other things like challenging red card decisions or penalty decisions also. For offside, I think the 4th official can make an immediate decision using video replay, but for other controversy there can be 2 turns for example. If the player feels he was hard done by, consult the… Read more »


pretty much exactly how they do it in baseball, and the game feels no different than before.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

I wouldn’t agree with this system in particular because it gives teams and managers an added choice as to how to manage their tactics–such ‘turns’ become highly controversial because the matter of ‘when’ they are used then becomes a part of tactics. Any way VAR can avoid input from the actual players and teams, and just assist the referees without a challenge system, would be the way to go for me. If VAR can’t avoid the need for a challenge system in the first place in a game like football, then adding rules to better justify it would probably only… Read more »

Coq au Vin

But will the VAR footage be shown inside the stadium as well? It’s so annoying replays on contentious decisions or pens are not shown inside the ground. (I don’t need a reply explaining why 🙂


tl:dr, John Terry’s a fucking wanker.

Lord Nicki B

Not surprised one bit about Arsene being passionate about the corruption.

That time at Monaco with the fixing scandals must have really wounded him


By way of a poll, who would be in favour of similar time monitoring like in rugby, whereby the referee ‘stops the clock’ for most lengthy stoppages (inc goalkicks lol) and then the game is simply finished the next time the ball goes out of play after 90 mins (upvote) or simply stick with what he have? (Down vote)


people acted the same way when they brought video replay into major league baseball (even though it had been used for years in the NFL prior to that). they had the same complaints, made the same baseless arguments.
the game is doing just fine today with it.


Compare it to rugby, VAR is used to confirm a try or not (goal or not), this could include forward passes or offside, prior to a try or goal. It is also used to review the severity of foul or dangerous play to determine the punishment. Finally it is also used for off the ball incidents. All of which I can see benefitting football. It would cut out diving, cheating, pricks thats for sure. It would also cut out a lot of the terrible behaviour and bully tactics some players and teams have surrounding and influenving the referees. It may… Read more »


If you want drama, watch Eastenders.
Sport needs accurate decisions. The argument of balance is a fallacy that poor pundits churn out.


People worried that it will take spontaneity out of the game but wont that be countered by the fact that it will add suspense to many decisions, like imagine in a local derby or UCL Final and one team scores a goal in the dying seconds of the game but there’s a suspicion of offside or foul. It would be a heart in mouth moment for both sets of fans, players and managers

Nachos in Montreal

I think the Field Hockey way of video technology is perfect-players get two referral chances every game,every time players think the refereee got something wrong,the captain can call for a video referral.If the captain calls for a referral,but the decision turns out to be right,they lose one of their referral chances.Once they lose all their chances,they cannot call for referrals anymore.

This should ensure that wrong decisions get video technology reviewed,whereas not every decision requires video review.This ensures speed of the game is minimally compromised for accuracy of decisions.

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