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Thread: Great comment style article in The Times today about Forest being hard done by by VAR


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  1. #1
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    Jan 2010

    Default Great comment style article in The Times today about Forest being hard done by by VAR

    I hope the link works!


    If not - here is an excerpt of the relevant points:

    Take last week’s entertaining cup tie between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest, which the Londoners won 2-0. There seemed to me a grave injustice against the Championship side, which occurred in the 24th minute with the score already 1-0 to Chelsea.

    Forest broke and the ball was slipped through to their young striker Alex Mighten in the Chelsea penalty area. Mighten went down under a challenge from Fikayo Tomori and the referee, Peter Bankes, pointed to the spot. The matter was referred to VAR to ascertain that it had indeed been a foul. Having viewed the footage, however, the panel noticed that Mighten was marginally offside when the ball was played to him. The decision, then, was that the penalty be overturned and an indirect free kick awarded to Chelsea.

    Forest were short-changed in at least one of three ways. First, and most obviously, if the game had been played at their ground the penalty would have stood because VAR was available only to Premier League clubs playing at home, which seems unfair.

    Second, even if the referee, Mr Bankes, had spotted the hairline offside, he had not blown for it and his duty would have been to punish the more serious transgression, ie the foul on Mighten. Being in an offside position is not in itself an offence. The question then is did the foul occur at the time Mighten gathered the ball, or as he was about to do so, or had Tomori started his lunge before Mighten had properly collected the ball?

    The three things seemed to happen simultaneously and the rules are a little opaque. At the very worst for Forest, the supposed offside would have been awarded but Tomori either booked or sent off for his foul. Many referees would tell you that it is still, however, a penalty, because that is the more serious offence.

    Then there’s this. The VAR had been commissioned into activity to judge whether or not Tomori had fouled his man. Should the panel not then have stuck to that simple brief? Instead, they spotted an offside. How far back in time should VAR go? Two seconds? Five seconds? Twenty seconds? What if there had been an infringement farther back in time? Should VAR have adjudicated on that too? If this seems nitpicking, I apologise, but these sort of uncertainties, to my mind, render VAR a big problem for the game — which I believe is best played out in a real, objective time, despite what Bergson might contend.

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