Chris Sutton fears that VAR will send conspiracy theories into melt down in Scotland.
Last week the SFA and SPFL held talks with Premiership clubs where it was agreed to push forward with the installation of the system which is standard practise in international matches and UEFA club competitions. The technology has been in use at Celtic Park, Ibrox and Hampden this season but not for domestic fixtures.
The introduction of VAR would see every goal reviewed for infringements with penalty claims reviewed alongside calls for red and yellow cards.
FIFA introduced VAR to the 2018 World Cup Finals with England and other major leagues introducing the system as quickly as possible. In Scotland there isn’t even goal-line technology in use.
In the Daily Record Sutton explains:
My big concern would be the people in charge of the VAR. The standard of officials is so poor in Scotland, who will be the ones that can be relied on to get the big calls right when sitting in a van or studio?
It could lead to even more problems. We all know what Scottish football is like. There would be conspiracy theories about who is making the big calls.
But it’s all down to competence. We’ve already seen numerous questionable decisions this season and it shouldn’t even need VAR to have got those ones right.
I don’t know if its full-time referees are required, whether it’s more training or even bringing in foreign refs but there simply has to be a rise in standards of officiating first. I also can’t believe it’s taken this long. We’ve been talking about VAR in Scotland for YEARS.
Yet now we have a meeting that says the clubs might fancy it but it’ll be put to a vote in a few months time. Scotland have been left behind and it’s no wonder Scottish referees are being shut out when it comes to the big games with UEFA.
Of course it is necessary in the long run. If it’s done correctly. It can’t be half-hearted or with people who don’t know what they are doing.
It would do more damage to the game than good but if they improve the refs, deepening the talent pool and properly get to grips with the game then it can work here in the long run but in the short term it will be more hassle than it’s worth with the current crop of officials.
Willie Collum will be in charge for Motherwell v Celtic tomorrow, his second Celtic SPFL match of this season. With Euan Anderson, Kevin Clancy and Bobby Madden also getting two of Celtic’s first eight matches it seems that even the SFA don’t trust the pool of referees that they have for the major fixtures. So far 16 referees have taken charge of Premiership fixtures.
Despite the expanded format no Scottish referees were used by UEFA at the European Championships this summer.