The Premier League should stick to using VAR despite a controversial weekend of decisions, Gary Neville said in the latest episode of The Gary Neville Podcastas “the good far outweighs the bad.”
On Saturday, Pervis Estupinan’s opening goal for Brighton against Crystal Palace was wrongly disallowed, with PGMOL later apologizing after wrong lines in the VAR room at Stockley Park.
That same afternoon, Lee Mason – the VAR for the Arsenal v Brentford game – ‘forgot’ to apply the lines which showed Bees midfielder Christian Norgaard in an offside position before assisting Ivan Toney’s equaliser.
PGMOL also acknowledged that a “significant error in the VAR process” was responsible for Brentford’s offside goal.
The incidents have naturally reignited the ongoing debate surrounding the technology, but speaking on Sunday, Neville insisted it would be a “massive mistake” to call time on its use in the Premier League as a result.
He said: “I think we can always expect more. But it’s human error – things happen so quickly. Sometimes we see things here and then we see the replays and we don’t spot things, so we understand. I know they’re trained to do that and they spot these things but we don’t spot everything ourselves and we’ve been in football a long time.
“What I don’t like the idea of is that, because Howard Webb has come out and apologised, suddenly that should signal the end of VAR. Even he accepts that it is bad.
“Honestly, I think it would be a huge mistake and it’s not going to happen anyway, whether it’s me saying it or people in the game or the media saying it. It would be a huge mistake to lose VAR because of this weekend. .
“The number of very bad decisions that have been overturned, the number of offside goals that have then been rectified the other way – the good far outweighs the bad. But it’s been a tough weekend and a tough weekend for referees.
“Let’s be clear, there are far more good decisions than bad and this is coming from someone who has been very critical of the referees at times during my career, it doesn’t give the referees an easy time, it doesn’t affect VAR or But if we want accuracy in the decisions, which we have been asking for all these years, then we should stick to it.
“Webb says he’s looking into it and reviewing it. We want to look at the personnel, we want to see what happened this weekend, we want to put it down as a very bad weekend. It didn’t happen before this season – it happened this weekend at the same time”.
“There will be bumps in the road with technology. officials could do with additional resources”
Sky Sports commentator and presenter The Gary Neville Podcast Martin Tyler told Neville that assistant referees could be better placed to make decisions on offside calls, despite the current VAR protocol which states that a referee must make the final call.
Neville agreed and went on to say that officials may benefit from additional resources not currently available to them.
He continued: “When we originally went down to Stockley Park [before VAR was implemented]one of the concerns I had was that we have incredibly talented people in ours Sky Sports trucks, to the complex outside bringing all the angles to the fans at home watching the replays we see. We have very technically gifted, skilled people who have been doing this for a long time to get to this level.
“At Stockley Park, do they have the same resources available to those referees every game, where they have three or four pairs of eyes, like a director, a producer? We have a team here on match days, so they support us and see things for us sometimes.
“I know they have some support, technically, at Stockley Park to help the referees, but they won’t have the team that we have, so I can see on the odd occasion that the same resources wouldn’t be there.
“The introduction of technology into football was never going to be smooth. We’re going to see bumps in the road, but we’re going to see fewer bumps in the road than we were a few years ago, where even I was wilting at one point, thinking it took too much , three to four minutes for each VAR decision.
“The one at Arsenal was like they couldn’t see the wood for the trees. They got stuck on one thing and didn’t see the bigger picture. I’m not going to sit here and knock them for that because it would be something that happens all the time in all areas of life. Sometimes the obvious is the last thing we see and we don’t know why afterwards.
“But that’s the reality and I think, at the end of the day, I’m comforted by the interview Howard Webb gave us on Friday Night Football a couple of weeks ago, I’m comforted by the refereeing performance in general. .
“They’re more open and transparent and when they come out and apologise, make a mistake and say it’s human error, put their hands up – that’s what we all wanted.
“I’m comfortable with it, I can go on with it. It’s when we don’t hear anything. I’m not defending the referees in terms of what happened this weekend because I’m sure there will be two managers that it will feel very difficult, but it will happen.”