Mohamed Salah says VAR has made football 'too fair' in the Premier League

From the moment the new Premier League season started two weeks ago, one word – or acronym, rather – has dominated headlines: VAR.

Introduced in England for the 2019/20 campaign, VAR made it’s presence immediately known during Manchester City’s opener away to West Ham.

City comfortably won the game 5-0, but they had one goal ruled out, another extensively checked and a penalty retaken.

Every time VAR was used at the London Stadium it put celebrations on hold, which according to a lot of people ruins the euphoria that football organically produces.

City were once again the victims of VAR against Tottenham over the weekend as they had a last-minute winner disallowed for the most innocuous of handballs.

No one – not even the players or referee on the pitch – inside the Etihad saw the ball touch Aymeric Laporte’s arm, but VAR did and so Gabriel Jesus’ goal to make it 3-2 was ruled out.

VAR is causing a lot of confusion and anger, which is the complete opposite of what it was meant to achieve in the Premier League.

Liverpool haven’t yet been affected by VAR, but Mohamed Salah is very much against the technology and believes it’s made football “too fair”.

In a recent interview with CNN International (see below), the Egyptian said he “loves football how it is” and that he expects to win more penalties because of VAR.

REPORTER: “What do you think of VAR?”

SALAH: “I don’t like it. But that’s my answer always.”


SALAH: “I love the football how it is. It’s okay to sometimes protect the players from dangerous play, but for me, I accept the football with the mistakes of the referee, mistakes of the player.

“That’s how the football get more excited. That’s how the people get more passionate about it.

“But the VAR is too fair. Last year, I had a penalty in the final [of the] Champions League and it helped me a lot. It’s too fair. We like it with the mistakes.”

REPORTER: “It’s interesting, you say too fair. You think the game needs a little bit of an edge?”

SALAH: “Of course, that’s how everyone likes football.”

REPORTER: “I want to give you a good example of perhaps why you might like VAR.

“In a recent survey, football fans said that Vincent Kompany’s tackle against you last season, for which he was only given a yellow card, Manchester City went on to win over Liverpool, was the episode that they most wanted reviewed by VAR.

“You say you don’t like VAR…”

SALAH: “That’s what I mean, just to protect the players. The only reason I could really want it.”

REPORTER: “So what do you think the impact of VAR is going to be on the game?”

SALAH: “More penalties for me! You will see that.”

Fair play to Salah for being so honest about VAR. It says a lot that the Premier League’s players would rather there be mistakes in football than everything be so clear-cut.

Nothing is set to change for the rest of the season, but if VAR continues to create controversy then the FA would be wise to conduct a review of their own next summer.

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