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Pundit claims Premier League season could be ruined by VAR after Man City vs Spurs controversy

The controversial VAR incidents involving Manchester City in the opening two games of the season are showing how the newly-introduced technology is threatening to ruin the whole of the 2019/20 campaign.

That is the view of Match of the Day pundit Danny Murphy, who says City’s reaction to both of Gabriel Jesus’ disallowed goals this month is a worry for the forthcoming season.

Against West Ham, Jesus saw a goal chalked off as VAR judged provider Raheem Sterling to be fractionally offside in the build up by a matter of millimetres. Some reports on Sunday claimed VAR technology in such instances may be incorrect for margins so tight.

Jesus thought he had netted a winner for City against Tottenham but the ball had come off Aymeric Laporte’s arm and the goal was ruled out after the celebrations had died down.

 

Murphy, who saw how VAR would operate before the season began, explained why such tight calls could put a dampener on the whole season.

Writing in the Mail , he said: “I was in a room full of people at Match of the Day and nobody saw the unintentional contact in live time by Laporte — it was that inconspicuous. Without VAR, it would have stayed as a dramatic winner but instead we’ve just spoiled the end of a great game. Again.

“There was a feeling of deflation and confusion, not excitement. To add to my frustration, this handball rule is a joke anyway. If the ball accidentally hits someone on the arm in the centre circle, we play on. But not in the goalmouth, apparently.

 

“The difference in checking everything is a few per cent at most – and the cost is huge. It’s always said we want to see more goals but this is doing the opposite. All this checking with technology might add to the suspense for some people but I find it tedious and hard work.

“So do the players and supporters in the stadium. The way the City team and fans failed to celebrate some of their goals against West Ham last weekend because they feared they would be chalked off by VAR was a huge warning.

“If there is no euphoria after scoring a goal, you lose the greatest excitement in the game. Now we learn that VAR is not only bad for the spirit, you can’t even rely on the science.”

 

While City have not yet had many positive experiences from VAR, Murphy says it is here to stay – for this season at least. But that could come at a cost.

“Realistically, the authorities will not quickly ditch something in which they have invested so much time, money and public relations,” he argued. “They will give it the full season before deciding the best way forward. But the way it operates has to be amended to avoid this Premier League season being spoiled.”

Offering possible solutions to the issues VAR has raised over the opening two weekends, Murphy said offside calls should only be overturned if there is daylight between the defender and attacker, proving the decision was clearly and obviously wrong.

 

He also wanted to restrict VAR checks to 30 seconds, arguing that the more replays and angles are needed to assess an incident, the less obvious an error from a referee.



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