The new offside and handball rules in the Premier League are “nonsense,” former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville claims, and he increasingly believes that most people dislike VAR.
On Monday night, when Ollie Watkins had a stoppage-time equaliser ruled out as Aston Villa were beaten 2-1 at West Ham, the apparently never-ending controversy surrounding VAR in England added another new segment.
Watkins side-footed home from Jack Grealish’s cross, but the shot was disallowed after a long VAR hold. As he jostled with defender Angelo Ogbonna, Watkins’ arm was adjudged to be fractionally offside.
Neville said his opinion was that the new rules on offside and handball are the main concern, rather than the VAR scheme itself when reviewing the decision on Sky Sports after the match, but he is conscious that viewers are getting bored of the video refereeing system.
“The issue is not the lines on screens. What’s happened is that the credibility of the referee has been threatened and they are even doubting themselves now,” Neville said.
“It’s not a problem for the official to go over to the computer. The referee goes over to the screen and doesn’t hold to the decision if the problem is correct. The main problem is the implementation of the technology, or the rule itself.
The handball rule and offside rule are Nonsense. It is important to amend those two rules. VAR will become more appropriate at some point.
At the moment, the thing is that they (referees) look like they’ve been briefed, they look like they’ve been trained like machines. They need to relax and calm out to go to the computer to say ‘I’m pleased with my decision.’ They’re not. They’re briefed like crazy. They’re programmed to the nth degree. They’re scared to death.
Their power was stripped away and the worst concern is that this thing is disliked by the fans. They have to change things.
Eventually, West Ham won by Ogbonna and Jarrod Bowen goals, either side of Grealish’s consolation.
In the Premier League standings, David Moyes’ side climbed to seventh, though Villa stuck squarely in the center of the table in 10th.