Football News

Man City midfielder Gundogan laments VAR for taking emotion out of football

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:50, 27 August 2019

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes VAR is taking the emotion out of football for both fans and players.

The 2019/20 Premier League season is the first to feature the video assistant referee system after trials in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup over the past few seasons in England.

VAR in the Premier League: Five things to know…

  • VAR is being used in the Premier League for the first time this season.
  • It had previously been trialled in England in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
  • The Premier League were the last of Europe’s top five leagues to introduce VAR.
  • But it has not gained many fans in its first few weeks.
  • Man City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes VAR is taking the emotion out of football.

And despite its implementation setting out to help referees make the correct decisions, VAR is not pleasing many fans in the Premier League.

After just three weeks of action, VAR has been criticised by fans, players and managers, while also causing controversy with some of the decisions.

In Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth on Sunday, Pep Guardiola’s side saw a penalty appeal turned down following a VAR review, after David Silva went down in the box.

And Gundogan believes VAR is creating a lot of problems in football.

“VAR is changing football not only for the players but also for the spectators and everyone who loves the game,” Gundogan said.

“Unfortunately it takes away the main reason why we all love football, and that’s the emotion.

“I’m not a big fan even though we can’t deny that it helps the referee. But the big problem is that even when an incident has been referred to VAR, there is still not a clear judgement.

“After the games we are still discussing whether it was a goal, a penalty or offside. And I can’t see this changing even with VAR.

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“That is why I don’t think it makes sense, but some people who run the game have decided it is going to help the referee and it’s something we’re just going to have to accept because we can’t change right now.

“I’m sure it is going to help us in the future but it is also creating a lot of problems and I’m not sure how we can solve it.”

As well as penalty appeals being turned down, Man City have also seen two goals disallowed through VAR, against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur.

VAR boss defends system’s Premier League use

With VAR receiving criticism after its first few weeks in the Premier League, the man in charge of the system, Neil Swarbrick, has come out to defend how it has been used.

“The perception it’s Stockley [Park] and not the refs making the decisions is definitely wrong,” he said.

“When we looked at VAR and how to use it best, the fundamental emphasis was for refs to do what they do – and not even think about VAR.

“Telling them to forget VAR when it’s there may seem odd – but that’s how we operate. Make your decision and if it’s one that can be changed – a penalty, red card or build-up to a goal – explain to VAR why you gave it. So all the emphasis is on the referee.

“If his reasons replicate what VAR is looking at – then it doesn’t matter what VAR thinks the decision should be.

“That’s not what VAR is about. It’s about the ref making the right call – and setting the bar as high as possible.”