Crystal Palace and England winger Andros Townsend has called for the Premier League to “get rid” of VAR, during an interview with talkSPORT.
Despite only being introduced in England last season, the video assistant referee (VAR) has suffered a series of teething problems.
Fans, players, managers and officials have all come out to criticise the new system.
And now England international Townsend has joined in the debate by saying he believes VAR is taking the “emotion” out of the game.
Bad few weeks for VAR
The past few weekends of Premier League football have been some of the most contentious in VAR’s short history.
The system ruled out Jordan Henderson’s late winner in the Merseyside derby. However, it failed to give a seemingly obvious red card to Jordan Pickford for a tackle on Virgil van Dijk earlier in the same game.
In Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea another seemingly obvious penalty was missed, while Alexandre Lacazette seemed to have a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside during Arsenal’s clash with Leicester.
Townsend speaks out
These are just a few of the many controversial decisions the technology has been involved in this season. Some are now calling for the system to be scrapped.
Townsend appears to be among them. He thinks VAR is changing football beyond recognition.
The Palace man sympathises with referees who have to deal with the ramifications of VAR on the pitch. He believes they should be allowed to handle matters with more authority.
“I don’t think anyone has a problem with referees themselves. They’re just trying to navigate through the new laws the same way we are,” he said.
“The problem we have is with VAR and the interpretation of the rules.
“Slowly and slowly over the years, the rules have changed so much we have a game we don’t even recognise.
Taking passion out of the game
The delay on VAR decisions has also seen many a joyous moment in football tainted.
Celebrations of last-minute winners have been muted over fears the technology might rule them out.
For Townsend, this is just another reason why VAR should be phased out of the Premier League.
“I’ve never been a fan of VAR, even if it was 100% perfect and got everything right,” he said. “I still think it ruins the raw emotion of football.
“If you score a last-minute goal, you go wild. But if your shoulder’s offside it doesn’t count.
“Then, next time you score, you’re not going to celebrate as intensely so you lose the raw emotion.
“The fact (VAR is) making so many mistakes, we need to get rid of it.”
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