Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has called on England’s top flight to stop using VAR to make rulings on offside calls.
The new technology has come under increased scrutiny since being introduced this season and was at the centre of controversy once again during Liverpool’s win over Wolves on Sunday.
Sadio Mane’s goal was correctly reinstated after referee Anthony Taylor had initially ruled it out, having called for handball on Adam Lallana.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Wolves thought they had equalised against the league leaders but Pedro Neto’s strike was ruled out for a marginal offside.
It was the FOURTH controversial VAR incident of the weekend, after three goals were ruled out on Saturday by so small a margin it’s still difficult to see why.
There have been many calls for VAR to be reviewed or even scrapped altogether, with referees chief Mike Riley recently urging fans to give it more time.
But Clattenburg, who left the Premier League in 2017, said VAR is taking away the natural excitement in football.
“I believe it could be time to remove offside decisions from the VAR process,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“The excitement and spirit of the game is in danger of being damaged by the precise nature of the VAR technology when it comes to offside.
“So why not go back to assistant referees flagging for offside and we stick to their decision?
“I do not believe in changing the laws of offside.
“So either we accept that offside is a matter of fact — which it is — and learn to live with the small margins, or we make it the call of the officials on the pitch and accept that mistakes will happen.
“The latter would remove the debate over the ‘armpit’ offside and also allow players and fans to celebrate goals more freely without the fear of a marginal offside ruling it out.
“What we cannot have is a ‘margin for error’ with offside – how far would you go?”
However, for Wolves captain Conor Coady, something has to change soon.
This is not the first time Wolves have felt hard-done-by by VAR, and the centre-back says it’s simply not doing its job properly.
“It’s constantly happening, it’s ridiculous,” he raged after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat.
“People are constantly talking about VAR but no-one is asking us about the situation.
“For me, it’s not working. There are people saying they are getting the right results… I don’t know.
“The offside, I can’t get my head around, honest to God I can’t get my head around it. It happened against Manchester City, we managed to come back from it because we showed great character.
“Decisions are killing us, it’s [VAR] killing us, it’s constantly against us.
“People are telling me they are getting right decisions and whatever but we’re the players on the pitch and it doesn’t feel good, believe me.”