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VAR is not perfect, but it makes more sense than Arsene Wenger’s idea

There is nothing wrong with the offside rule and there is nothing wrong with the way VAR interprets it. The facts are really so bare.

And the way in which even Arsene Wenger, also known as the most lucid and cerebral man, loses his mind about it, only proves that a collective hysteria around it can obscure any reason.

Walter’s suggestion that there should be a daylight rule, meaning that an attacker is not offside, unless there is daylight between him and the last defender, is a farrago that would not solve anything. Arguments would be furious about whether there was daylight or not. It would shift the problem a few meters to the target. That’s all.

Arsene Wenger's 'daylight' rule for offside is a farrago that would not solve anything in football

Arsene Wenger’s ‘daylight’ rule for offside is a farrago that would not solve anything in football

After a long check by VAR, it was decided that Giovani Lo Celso's stamp was not a red card

After a long check by VAR, it was decided that Giovani Lo Celso's stamp was not a red card

After a long check by VAR, it was decided that Giovani Lo Celso’s stamp was not a red card

Unusually for such a measured man, Wenger’s proposal felt like a nod to populism. It felt like he was telling people what they wanted to hear. We behave collectively as a child who is upset, that he does not get his own way and has a prolonged and noisy tantrum. Wenger offered an ice cream to keep us all silent. No wonder he has already withdrawn from his idea.

We let ourselves be ruled by a screaming madness. Critics talk about the “absurdity” of a player who is ruled offside by his armpit or big toe. They call it a Varce. But it is not absurd at all. It is only a fact. The only problem with it is to communicate it to the public. That is where the system is terribly missing.

The only thing football has to do is get to a point where the technology can buzz in the referee’s ear when there is an offside – just like when the ball crosses the goal line – and the problem is solved immediately. If the decision is made quickly – and the technology is perfected, so that there is no discussion about even the smallest measurements – then nobody will talk about how fine the margins are. The arguments will stop.

Because offside judging is the same as judging whether the ball has crossed the line. There is no room for gray areas, as there may be a subjective perception of a potential red card breach such as Giovani Lo Celso’s stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta on Stamford Bridge on Saturday or even a handball. The whole ball has crossed the line or not. A goalscoring part of your body is either offside or not. The whole ball has crossed the line or not.

Cesar Azpilicueta (left) said he thought it would be a red card once the incident had occurred

Cesar Azpilicueta (left) said he thought it would be a red card once the incident had occurred

Cesar Azpilicueta (left) said he thought it would be a red card once the incident had occurred

When Erik Lamela threw a shot at the net last month in the final minutes of Spurs’ match in Watford, goal line technology told us that the entire ball had not crossed the line by 10.4 mm. There were no shouts from Farce. No accusations of absurdity.

With target line technology, we undoubtedly accept the accuracy of the technology. Nobody tries to challenge it. Nobody worries about bending for the machine.

And yet, when we talk about offside, emotion penetrates. It is considered ridiculous to punish someone if they are only ‘marginal’ offside. Marginal offside is a tautology. Again, you are offside or not. Offside is almost always about fine margins. Nothing has changed. It’s just that football is trying to make the decision.

But it has not been able to eradicate confused thinking. “Take the ‘goal’ scored by Willy Boly for Wolverhampton Wanderers last Friday against Leicester City,” wrote former Premier League referee Peter Walton in The Times last week, “when Pedro Neto’s heel was sidelined in the build-up. VAR was not intended to hunt down such incidents that are invisible to the naked eye. “

In fact, that was exactly what VAR was conceived for. In other aspects of the game, it was the task to identify clear and obvious errors. With offside you stand offside or not. No one says that goal line technology has not been introduced to judge whether a ball is only 10.4 mm across the line and that a goal should not be awarded in those circumstances?

The Burnley match against Bournemouth also had more than its fair share in VAR drama

The Burnley match against Bournemouth also had more than its fair share in VAR drama

The Burnley match against Bournemouth also had more than its fair share in VAR drama

Because that would sound stupid and irrational. That would make you sound like a flat earther. VAR was called in to eradicate human errors. Judging offside is difficult and I am afraid of line judges that they make as many decisions as they do. But VAR was introduced to help them when the cameras discover things they miss.

Once we have the technology, we cannot ignore it. We cannot say that a player was only offside for a few millimeters and therefore a goal had to be allowed. That would be really absurd. Once we have the technology, we must use it. Doing something else would be perverse.

So let’s not get confused in the midst of VAR hysteria. The offside rule does not have to be changed. Football only needs to improve its communication. Either that or we must use the NFL system to let a coach challenge two decisions per game. Why not include offside in it?

Unfortunately, that idea is far too logical and FIFA will not consider it. So VAR gives us the best chance of being sidelined. You may not like it and say that football kills, but a little offside, it is hard to argue against the fact that VAR is a lot more logical than Arsene Wenger.

Why United has the advantage

I loved the quarrel between Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane about which players would make a combined team of the Manchester United Treble-winning side of 1998-99 and the Liverpool side that has everything to offer this season.

The discussion made great television, especially because they are two great sides and two great experts and because there is no good answer.

Except that those United players won the Treble in 1999. And to match them, Liverpool still has a way to go.

The triple winning team of Manchester United has a lead over Liverpool until they win more

The triple winning team of Manchester United has a lead over Liverpool until they win more

The triple winning team of Manchester United has a lead over Liverpool until they win more

System is wrong, no agents

I have never met Mino Raiola. Or talked to him.

Many people I know and respect – Gary Neville and Simon Jordan, to name just two – clearly hate him and what he stands for.

But it doesn’t make much sense to choose Raiola, including Paul Pogba agent and Romelu Lukaku, because that’s all wrong in football.

It is not Raiola that is the problem. Players need agents to prevent them from being exploited, but power relationships have shifted too far in their favor. It is the system that is the problem.

Agents get too much money out of the game, but that is only because the clubs and the players they represent are complicit.

They have to pay them what they ask or decide they don’t want.

They must accept that contracts are worthless or willing to take a position and enforce it.

Agents such as Mino Raiola, who represents Paul Pogba, are not the culprit, it's the system's fault

Agents such as Mino Raiola, who represents Paul Pogba, are not the culprit, it's the system's fault

Agents such as Mino Raiola, who represents Paul Pogba, are not the culprit, it’s the system’s fault

Right Dele, not funny

I have seen people say that the video that Dele Alli posted fourteen days ago, mocking a mockery of an Asian man and linking him to the corona virus, was not racist.

Sometimes labels are useless, I suppose, and at least Alli quickly apologized for trying to make a bad joke of the situation. However, I was thinking of his ‘joke’ this week, when a 17-year-old friend of my daughter told her that her mother was abused in the street of an English town last week when she sneezed.

Amid the snowstorm of insults aimed at her, she was told to go home. Her mother is originally from South Korea. The ‘joke’ of Alli and others likes to create that climate. He was right: it wasn’t funny.

Dele Alli landed himself in hot water after posting an insensitive video about corona virus

Dele Alli landed himself in hot water after posting an insensitive video about corona virus

Dele Alli landed himself in hot water after posting an insensitive video about corona virus

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