Fifa’s ‘robot linesman’ plan will do more for employment figures than the game… fans love the human element of football

THERE were 77 reports of violence against referees in England last season and the FA are considering lifetime playing bans.

But what do the authorities do when yobs start picking on VAR?

In Brazil, bare-chested numpties charged on to the pitch at the end of Gremio’s 3-1 defeat to Palmeiras before destroying pitchside VAR equipment.

Their anger was directed at cameras which showed that a would-be equaliser in their Serie A match was fractionally offside.

It might just as well have been an attack on a coffee plantation because the beans are brown. Thankfully, this is unlikely to be a common event.

With the scientific proposal to post a dozen cameras to ensure inch-perfect offside decisions, it would need a hooligan invasion of Viking proportions to make a serious impact. I hope no one here will ever be tempted to try.

Look again at the last paragraph, a dozen cameras. That’s nearly enough for a royal wedding.

And Arsene Wenger, increasingly a Fifa apologist, approves.


Unlike his plan for a World Cup every other season, this one is likely to run.

Yet a VAR leader, an assistant and a relay operator are employed for each Premier League match.

Already the system requires several cameras and I can’t help thinking that having more will do more for the improvement of the employment figures than it will for football.

Initially, the standard of offside decisions was mocked by many for its finicky nature — goals ruled out for the scorer being offside by a toecap or elbow were targeted as destroying the essence of our game.

But time has calmed us a little.

Accuracy is now welcomed by everyone except fans of the team who have lost an equaliser or winning goal.

The next VAR phase will be more precise than brain surgery, we are told.

Look from the other end of the telescope — and the disturbing conclusion is that VAR has not been so dead-on as we have been led to believe.

The trouble was the geometry and, so, only more cameras at fresh angles will correct that. Hopefully.

They will also grab the instant the pass was made to the wannabe scorer.

And how about fouls and handballs?

So where does the shoulder end and the arm begin?

Was the alleged offender moving a muscle to change the direction of the ball?

Unfortunately, a camera — or any other piece of kit — that can discern motive has yet to be invented.

‘Diving’ is in decline but it still goes on. So do slyly illegal and sometimes dangerous tackles.

So does wrestling at corner kicks. Most of us like our game for the human element involved.

It is about errors as well as skill because life is like that, too. Accurate judgements are to be applauded and mistakes cherished.

By the opposition at least.

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