Cascarino: VAR is Ruining the Soul of Football

Premier League spot up for grabs on Championship final day

Former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino has stated that soul of football is being lost with the use of VAR.

The Irish man was unpleased at the use of the technology over the weekend with Liverpool at the end of another controversial VAR moment.

The Reds who had two goals chalked off by VAR for offsides were denied a win when their hosts were awarded a late penalty in the third minute of added time. 

The incident came after VAR had called the attention of the referee to an incident in the box involving Danny Welbeck and Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, with the Liverpool man adjudged to have kicked the Brighton striker.

The referee who had earlier waved aside the incident was required to consult the pitch-side monitor and overturned his earlier decision.

Pascal Gross stepped up to fire the spot-kick past Alisson, and dent Liverpool’s title hopes.

Speaking on Sunday’s Weekend Sports Breakfast about the game, Tony Cascarino was quite abrasive in his assessment of VAR, labelling the technology “perplexing and difficult to explain.”

“Of course I find [VAR] perplexing and difficult to explain,” Cascarino said.

“Do I like it? No. Does it put me off football? Absolutely, at times.”

“The game is beautiful, but unfortunately you are going to get that [people being put off].

“I admire the technique, the physical condition of football is extraordinary, it’s beautiful, and the game is being played by teams who are very attack-minded; I love all of that.

“But the side of football that makes it rotten is this, what we are watching and witnessing now.”

The pundit also stated that the decisions made in the game today are killing the soul of the game.

“I find we’ve lost the soul of the game at the moment, by the decisions that are being made”

“I say this a lot, but you don’t want to sound old school; but where we are in the game today, compared to yesterday, is a million miles away.

With VAR at the centre of some controversy every week, Cascarino’s words echo the opinion of most fans who are tired of the technology.

The endless scrutiny of every goal to check for offsides and possible fouls that might have happened long before the goal has often led to frustrations with fans and viewers who have complained of not knowing when to celebrate a goal.

Another frustrating part is the fact that the while officials make these decisions, players and viewers are forced to wait endlessly in awkward silence without a clue what conversation is going on by the officials.

Add these to the fact that some clubs seem to be getting more VAR attention. 

Against Manchester United, referee David Coote was forced to overturn his decision of awarding a penalty to the Baggies after consulting with VAR. This led to Watford striker Troy Deeney, claiming that the big clubs got more attention from the technology.

While this might be a far unfounded statement, there is clearly a cause of concern with the way VAR is working.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have now been involved in nine overturned VAR decisions this season, resulting in five disallowed goals the most in the league.