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Gareth McAuley: VAR has gone too far, it's time to back refs

VAR has attracted criticism (Martin Rickett/PA)
VAR has attracted criticism (Martin Rickett/PA)
Gareth McAuley

By Gareth McAuley

If VAR is to work in the Premier League, it needs to stop dictating and allow referees to remain in control of proceedings.

We have professional referees in England, some of the best in the world, but yet all the power has been taken away from them. They no longer have any authority - and that, as a player, would scare me.

They are there to implement the rules and protect the players, but it has been taken out of their hands by Mike Riley, the head of referees, and his cohorts watching TV screens and playing their own version of the computer game FIFA. It's absurd.

VAR was brought in for only clear and obvious issues - not to judge every single goal, potential offside and infringement in the box.

The referee and his assistants must be the ones to decide whether VAR is used and only if he is undecided on a particular passage of play. Riley and co should take a back seat and lay off the computer joysticks.

Even as a defender, it has pained me seeing good goals, like Norwich's Teemu Pukki against Tottenham, chalked off for the Finn being a millimetre offside on VAR. That was not clear and obvious.

VAR is currently ruining the game and the League Managers' Association, along with the PFA, will need to step up at the end of the season and get it rectified. Otherwise, the Premier League will continue to be a laughing stock and genuine football fans will simply turn off.

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