Date: 7th August 2020 at 1:00pm
Written by:

Starting with VAR; it is a system that was established to clarify certain aspects of dispute during a match and reduce the possibility of match officials making errors that can dramatically affect a result. So how’s that going?

The way I understand it is, something happens, match officials see it or don’t see it, VAR can then crash the party and reverse decisions or refer it back to the referee who can then leave the pitch and review his original decision. This process takes time during which nobody in the stadium has a clue about what is happening.

The more open to interpretation a rule is, the more confusing it becomes and the less effective it is. At the moment there appears to be no more clarity with VAR than there was before VAR. Although this system has only been in operation for a fairly short time, many of its faults have been repeated many times with little sign of addressing them. There is obviously much work still to be done and I’m not sure how the powers that be are going to do it.

The offside rule is something that we would expect to be as easily judged as goal-line technology. But that does not seem to be the case. A straight line across the field on the screen should make offside decisions easy. But, in reality, that’s not always the case. Should a finger/toe, nose, etc, make it offside. There have been many on-field debates to determine this during matches. What seems to be obviously clear to the multitude seems to been completely missed by the officials …. and they are the ones that matter.

One offside rule that is always open to interpretation is whether or not a player is interfering with play? If an offside player is anywhere between the goalkeeper and the player with the ball, the goalkeeper must, sometimes, consider him in the equation when he decides what to do about dealing with a shot on goal. That is another contentious situation because officials can read this scenario differently.

Maybe the game would be less complicated and more exciting if the offside rule did not exist. If someone wants to ‘goal-hang’ then it’s up to the defence to deal with it. It’s the same at both ends after all. This could result in more goals and therefore more excitement for the fans. Of course, both teams could park the bus which might end in more 0-0 results. Who knows? But there would be less time-wasting decisions required.

Another rule change that has occurred through the years concerns substitutions. Some will remember the time there were no subs allowed (which adversely affected the 1961 Cup final for Leicester). Subsequently, one, two, and now three became the rule. I recently saw an article saying that PL clubs had voted against a proposed increase to five subs. What would such a rule change mean?

For the top money clubs, who usually have more games because of European commitments, it makes sense. But how would that affect the Premier League. Top clubs could have five game-changers sitting on the bench whilst less financial clubs (which is most of them) could have one or two such players and three or four average players on the bench. Surely that would widen the gap even further between clubs in the PL. It would be interesting to know what each club voted for. Personally I think three subs should be enough, but it’s arguable.

Like I said, the more confusing rules become the less effective they are. At the moment there appears to be quite a lot of confusion …. and there shouldn’t be. I’m not advocating anything, just opening a discussion.

Click for the forum

99 Replies to “Tottenham: Rules Are Rules …. Or Are They?”

  • Geofspur…you have your writing head on again, thanks for that, a bloody good article that is very thought provoking

    Starting with the subs scenario, 100% agreement there – 3 subs only, and I agree 5 subs, that will only benefit the richer clubs with larger squads of players, thus as you say widening the gap.

    VAR, Jesus where does one start, my contribution is the offside rule, if its a part you can score with, foot,leg, chest, abs, head then Yes offside, hand, arm then NO not offside, maybe a bit simple but that is for me.

    Handball in Penalty area, that a big mmmm, accidental a yard or two from the kicker, NO pen, over two yards from kicker not accidental, so then YES a pen, hands/arms in unnatural positions there is no answer for that, because anyone who has played a field sport, Football, Rugby etc will know we use our arms for balance.

    I do not think I will carry on because all that I have said will “open the proverbial can of worms” lol! so bring on the chat. COYS

  • I think some hand ball decisions are incredibly harsh. Few players deliberately want to handle the ball especially in the penalty area. Players often try to hide their arms but still get penalised. Sissoko’s hand ball in the Champs League final in the first few minutes was never deliberate. However, it had to be a pen according to the rules the ball hit his flailing ar.m. (It ruined the game by the way. Without that unfortunate incident we could have won the game because both teams were poor but we were knocked back and had to chase the game). The only real deliberate hand balls are made occasionally by defenders on the line but they then get sent off. Trouble is players and fans will always shout handball in the hope a pen will be given. Refs can be influenced especially at Old Trafford.

  • Good article yet again Geoff.
    We have been on the receiving end of some harsh VAR decisions this season. I Havnt got the answer for this one and actually have more questions.
    Why doesn’t the ref if VAR is used always go to the monitor, then, he can also add his tuppence worth to the decision having reviewed the incident again.
    I thought the new offside rule was to help the attacking player. This VAR business often can’t show the exact moment the pass was played. So the player may have been that millimeter onside but when reviewed it is shown as off. For me it should be clear and obvious off side or the benefit needs to go to the attacker. I. E. 1 leg off side which is clear and obvious and is mostly what is used to score.
    Re the Sub issue. I would go middle ground of 3 subs and use a rugby term of what I think is a blood sub. For example if all 3 subs are used and we have a concussion, breakage, or cut.or a red card challange which sees the injured player unable to continue. Then we can use the blood sub. This can be used at any time in the game for this type of injury. I would argue that the injury to Lloris would have fallen into this category.
    Obviously like everything open to abuse.
    But just a few thoughts. As stated in your opening comments Geoff confusing.
    Good luck with this one.

  • Off Topic just watched Man C beat Real Madrid. TBH Madrid looked pretty ordinary. Household names
    in Madrid but on tonite’s performance they wouldn’t make top 5 in the prem. Shows our league is arguably the best in the world.

  • you can only be offside if your whole body is past the defender.

    Hand ball in the penalty area is only a penalty if you use your hand to stop the ball going past, if your hand by your side and ball hits your hamd but you didn’t move your hand no pens.

    If we go for a striker to challenge Kane, he would most likely be on the bench for 75% of the time, what top level of striker is happy like that

  • if im honest of they were fans in the stadium, im pretty sure in a lot of the games they would of been a lot of boo’s

  • ND …. Interesting point re blood sub. Another way could be to allow two (or three) subs for strategic reasons and one (or two) subs for injuries if a player needs to leave the field.

    I agree it should be clear and obvious for offside. As 123 said, the whole of the body should be past the last defender …. in the same way that the whole of the ball has to be over the line to be considered out of play.

    And I cannot see how a penalty could be given for handball if it’s not intentional. That is so basic to my way of thinking. To give a penalty every time the ball touches the arm/hand without taking into account the circumstances is ridiculous.

  • Agreed Geoff. I think we can also agree on the unintentional hand ball when attacking . For example the disallowed Kane goal for the Moura hand ball ridiculous.

  • Wentworth. Re: Sissoko’s handball in the CL final.

    The CL final was played under the old handball rules and not the ones that followed. The match was the last match of the 2018-19 season. The new rules came into play for the 19-20 season. The new handball rules would have actually favoured Sissoko in that situation.

    I say would have favoured him but this where another problem with VAR comes in for me. In the new rules it should not be given as handball but only if it had been seen to hit Sissoko’s body first before hitting his hand or arm. And so seen as accidental. Under the old rules this wasn’t the case. (So this is seen as a form of “accidental handball” in the current rules).

    But where the problem with VAR comes in for me; is not everyone could or would necessarily agree that the ball hit Sissoko’s body first, before ricocheting to his arm. Some have said the ball did come off Moussa’s body first, others have said that it didn’t. So under the current rules, VAR may still have seen that as a penalty if the Ref /VAR deemed that it was a direct handball. But another Ref/VAR may have seen it as not a pen. Because as we know there have been many controversial VAR decisions that not everyone has agreed on. For me it was as clear as daylight (from one video angle at least) that the ball deflected off the side of Moussa’s body before hitting his arm.

    I was against VAR from the off, for this reason and for others. Simply because with certain incidents, there is still a subjective and controversial view that can come into play. Whereby what one VAR official interprets one way, another VAR official can see it in another way. And sometimes (often) what seems clear and obvious to most of us watching (even without bias) is somehow the opposite to how VAR has seen it. Even though we have also viewed it from several video angles ourselves.

    The offside rule is a simple one for me…… (And it should be as simple as possible). As others have said. I believe that offside should see the whole of the attacking players body, behind the last man, at the point of when the ball was played directly to them, from a team mate. To me this would be as fair as it can reasonably be…

    VAR OUT! Man……..

  • However, as VAR is probably here to stay. It’s only fair that I should point out that a lot of the problems that I have seen with VAR, actually come about from some of the rules as opposed to it being a problem with the use of VAR, in itself…

    I mean, if just one fraction of a body part is officially seen to be beyond that virtual VAR video line, according to the offside ruling, it is fair and correct to call it offside. I just feel that as a ruling, it is actually unfair… So this is not the fault of VAR in this case. It is more that my view of the offside ruling is the real problem here.

  • HT. Yep. Sissoko was desperately unlucky. Unfortunately his right arm was outstretched and the ball hit shoulder socket. The look of dismay on the Spurs players faces showed they feared the worst. They stopped and knew it was probably a pen. Only Eriksen really complained. If Sissoko’s arm had been fixed to his side he might have got away with it. It was very harsh and it ruined the game in my opinion. Liverpool were very poor and we could have taken that game. If a Liverpool player had committed the same unintentional “hand ball”, I am sure we would all have been baying for a pen. I still feel we were robbed. It was an awful game after that.

  • I agree with much of what HT says aout VAR but especially regarding the laws/rules in relation to the introduction of the system. There should have been a complete overhaul of the laws/rules to take into account the new technology before it was introduced fully into the game, the problem here though is that it was only introduced at the top level of the game and is never going to be available at grass roots level so any law/rule changes have to be applicable with or without VAR.

    The need to review these things to keep up with an ever changing scenario is something that gets overlooked in many areas of life, only this morning I was listening to a former head of the UK Border Force (talking about the current influx of migrants across the English channel) who said that we still operate under international agreements made in 1951 regarding the right to apply for asylum.

    Seems to me the world has changed enormously since that time as has the game of football since many of the current laws/rules were formulated.

  • TQ, that 1951 law regards asylum seeking also says you must appeal for asylum in the first safe country you arrive in, so for the channel hoppers…France, but they have probably entered other safe countries before even France, we all know why they want to come here, need I say more.

  • I think people assume when VAR is used the official looks at the screen and asks “what is the correct decision ?”, he doesn’t. What he actually asks is “is there any way I can avoid over ruling the referee ?” whether the decision is right or wrong is largely irrelevant. In England its always been about pretending the referee is right even when everyone can see he’s wrong, this didn’t change when VAR came in. Now EUFA are enforcing some common standards for the new season and its going to get tougher for the establishment to pretend English referees are way better than they really are.

  • What your are saying jod is not factual though is it. It’s just your opinion on how poor you believe English refereeing standards to be and that VAR in England, is mainly there to support the refs whether right of wrong, in an effort to hide this. That’s just nonsense.

    What is factual, is that we saw incident after incident, all season, whereby VAR did overturn the refs initial decision, many, many times.

    And what you also say is “largely irrelevant”, is the most relevant point of all . And that is whether the final official decision made is then seen as right or wrong. As this is what then causes so much of the controversy surrounding VAR. Because there has indeed been so much disagreement as to whether the right or wrong decision was eventually made. And, on numerous occasions.

  • Hot Tottingham – If life in English football was the happy clappy way you think then EUFA would not have felt the need to step in and force the premier league to adhere to European norms would they ?

    • What a very strange response, jod. Once again it has nothing to do with what I have written…

      And once again I haven’t a clue what you are talking about…

      Last month, FIFA took over full control of VAR throughout the world of association football. And their aim is to ensure that VAR is more consistent in how it is used in leagues around the world and across all competitions. This has nothing to do with what you are inferring and about it being specific to VAR in England. They are concerned that there is no standard way globally in how VAR is used. And how certain rules are interpreted in different ways across world football in general, in the use of VAR.

      None of this has anything to do with what you have written. You’ve just made it up!

      This stuff about UEFA stepping in to force the PL to….. etc., as you say, must have been a dream you had…

  • Hi guys
    What I will say about VAR. All you have to do is look a the lack of overturned penalty decisions for Man U this season to see that there is still something wrong. I think they were awarded around 15 pens in the Premier League this season 12 last season that was the most awarded to any team both seasons.Many of these were questioned and challenged by on line reports.
    I am starting to believe that there is a slant, if not a conspiracy to keep ManU plc in the top echelons of the premiership. They are seen as a world wide advert for the Premier League and arguably have the largest draw, around the world when playing on TV.
    Would it be beyond belief to award them an advantage of a pen here and there to help keep them within grasp of CL football and therefore keep the worldwide audience for the Premier league.
    I still think that the year Leicester a similar story could be argued there became a groundSwell of opinion in favour of the Leicester “fairy tale” I feel some Refs got wrapped up in this to such an extent that Refs awarded Leicester the greatest amount of Premiership penalties ever. Thus losing us our chance. That year I feel we fought the whole of Britain in our challange including most referees but this was prior to VAR. I’m on a rant now. But I feel VAR still favours some teams.

    • Morning ND, no fairy tale there in your post regards MU, most amount of pens…fact, conspiracy theory am 100% with you there. COYS

  • Hi ND …. I think the VAR issues are beyond conspiracy theories and are simply a matter of not thinking it through properly (as TQ commented) prior to implementing it.

    I think your point regarding referees favouring certain clubs at certain times for certain reasons is probably accurate. Humans operate on many levels, both consciously and unconsciously, and therefore our decisions are not always as objective as we may like to think. If we accept this, it seems quite understandable (although obviously wrong) that officials can become the victim of their own unconscious bias at times. It’s not a deliberate act, just a predetermined mindset. Maybe?

    • Morning Geofspurs, good response to ND’s post, will you have a new handle and we now start calling you Professor Geofspur from down under lol! COYS

  • Yeah Geoff
    Just having having a rant. Lol. Just can’t see in logic how the same team can be awarded the most pens 2 seasons in a row.

  • ND …. The only explanation for that is that Football works in mysterious ways! I sure can’t work it out. lol

Comments are closed.