VAR was once again the big talking point during the final Premier League game week of 2019.
The dreaded ‘armpit offside’ came to fruition once again in spectacular fashion, with three goals disallowed on Saturday alone.
Brighton’s Dan Burn, Crystal Palace’s Max Meyer and Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki were all denied by VAR and the uproar on social media lit fires far and wide.
But the FA were targeted even more on Sunday when Wolves’ Pedro Neto was denied a goal by the most ridiculous offside call to date.
Jonny Otto was adjudged to have been the culprit in the build up to the goal, but even after seeing still images and the dreaded dotted lines, no one could be certain that the Spaniard was offside.
- VAR disallows three goals on the same day for marginal offsides
- Conor Coady passionately speaks out about VAR during interview
- VAR say Van Dijk’s handball in build-up to Mane goal was ‘inconclusive’
Sheffield United’s Lys Mousset was also denied a goal at the Etihad due to the possibility of the toe of his boot being offside.
So how on earth do we fix this issue? One that saw #VAROUT trend on Twitter and one that is leaving scores of fans disillusioned with the game they love?
Well, we’ve done some thinking and – with the help of Graeme Souness – have provided five potential solutions to the ongoing offside fiasco in the Premier League.
1. A challenge system
Like in the NFL and in all forms of international cricket, the Premier League could introduce a challenge system.
Each manager has two opportunities a game to question a decision made by the officials and that’s all.
That would mean every single decision across the 90 minutes would not be scrutinised and the dreaded dotted lines would hopefully be far less frequent.
2. Souness’ brilliant idea to change the offside rule
Souness isn’t often a name synonymous with the phrase ‘talking sense’, but his passionate rant about VAR during Liverpool vs Wolves certainly was.
The Scotsman stated the concept of the offside rule should be altered, saying on Sky Sports: “What we should do is say that if any part of an attacker is in an onside position they can’t be given offside.”
We could certainly get on board with that, Graeme.
3. Taking a leaf out of cricket’s book – again
We mentioned cricket in point number one, but the Premier League could perhaps take another look at how technology operates in the gentleman’s game.
When an LBW decision is reviewed, there is a margin of error administered to offer protection to the umpire. So if a goal has been awarded, but is then sent for review to VAR headquarters, could football not have the same margin of error?
So if a player’s toe nail or armpit hair is straying into offside territory, just award the bloody goal and stop unnecessarily robbing us of entertainment and exposing the on-field officials to abuse!
4. A countdown timer
Okay, it’s a certainly the most ‘farfetched’ of the options so far, but surely its better than a five-minute delay to determine whether Pukki’s armpit was offside?
So just picture it, a humungous analog clock directly above the monitors at Stockley Park, which starts ticking down as soon as the ball crosses the line.
If the geometrical tools can’t detect a skin flake offside in the required time, off goes a buzzer, the VAR officials by the monitors are sprayed in the face with water and the goal is awarded. Happy days!
5. SCRAP VAR!
We were going to suggest that officials at Stockley Park could only determine an offside with their eyes, no lines at all.
It would be far better than the current situation, but if the Premier League were willing to go that far, they may as well scrap the whole tainted system altogether.
At least they could flog the monitors on eBay…