WELCOME to the future of football.
Welcome to chaos and confusion, anger and farce.
6 VAR is going to change the fundamental face of football and have a huge impact on the match-going punter
Welcome to the bastardisation of the world’s most popular sport and the end to any pretence that match- going experience of paying punters is important.
This is what you wanted, VAR fans, and this is what you’re going to get.
Fifteen minutes from the end of Sunday’s Serie A match between SPAL and Fiorentina, with the scores tied at 1-1, Mattia Valoti nets for SPAL.
The crowd celebrate, sensing a much-needed win for their relegation-threatened team, only for festivities to be cut short by the realisation referee Luca Pairetto is Lionel Blairing it up with the old charades sign for a TV screen.
Getty Images – Getty6 SPAL's Mattia Valoti celebrates his goal, only to see it ruled out by VAR and a crucial penalty awarded to Fiorentina
😨 Absolute drama!
The referee has disallowed a goal for @spalferrara after consulting VAR! ❌
And he has awarded a penalty at the other end of the field for @acffiorentina!😳
Should it have been a penalty?#SerieA pic.twitter.com/DvgGy16Nip
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) February 17, 2019
This VAR referral is met with incredulity as there cannot possibly be anything wrong with Valoti’s strike — he’s drilled in a low cross cut back from the left wing.
But Pairetto’s been alerted to a possible foul in the other penalty box, 35 seconds earlier, where Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa has executed a front dive tuck after a challenge from Dias Felipe.
Deliberations ensue for three minutes, ending with Pairetto watching the penalty incident on a small screen by the touchline, deciding there has been contact from Felipe, ruling out SPAL’s goal and awarding a penalty to Fiorentina.
Jordan Veretout scores it before his team go on to win 4-1.
OK, so maybe you feel fast-moving drama and spontaneity are not essential to football’s great global popularity, and that this should be sacrificed in the search for ultimate justice.
Yet when you watch the replay, Chiesa clearly leaps in the air to accentuate the contact after he attempted a cut-back which was blocked.
Getty Images – Getty6 Jordan Veretout converts the controversial penalty to put Fiorentina 2-1 up
By the letter of the law the referee may have got it right but no goalscoring opportunity has been denied and the incident has probably only been spotted because of Chiesa’s exaggeration.
No great wrong has been righted, while a ‘good’ goal has been ruled out by a timelord in a TV truck.
Not that anyone in the stadium would have known because football fans are apparently not trustworthy enough to watch on a big screen what they’ll soon be watching on their phones. So how exactly have we benefited from this mayhem, as the fast-flowing beautiful game is contorted by a remote official?
We look forward to more of the same when VAR arrives in the Premier League next season — as such incidents are not that rare.
Similar situations of good goals being ruled out by a VAR penalty shout at the other end have also occurred in the Dutch top flight and Major League Soccer.