Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou has said he would scrap VAR ‘in its present form’ and has dismissed Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s appeal for last weekend’s game to be replayed.
Postecoglou believes the VAR’s mistake which denied Liverpool the opening goal in their eventual 2-1 defeat in north London is further evidence that the technology is not suitable for football and warned that in trying to “sanitise” the sport, the English top-flight is in danger of losing its unique selling point: the speed of the game.
The Australian has long been an outspoken critic of VAR, which has been thrust into the spotlight again since Luis Diaz’s goal was incorrectly disallowed last Saturday, and says he would get rid of the technology if he could.
“I would in its current form,” Postecoglou said. “I just don’t think that technology’s ready for our game.
“I’ve got absolutely zero against goal-line technology, that’s a no-brainer because it works for our game. I just think our game is unique. The more we use [VAR], I think the worse it’s going to get.
“It was there for the ‘clear and obvious’ error, [but] it seems like everything now. Yellow cards, fouls, corners, everything’s getting scrutinised. It’s not our game, we’re not rugby, we don’t have those stoppages.
“What I always loved about England was the frenetic pace of football. That’s what everybody said. Premier League, English First Division, that was the difference between some other leagues where you go, ‘oh, it’s so slow and ponderous, it drives you nuts. Not the English league, it’s bang, bang’.
“Why are we trying to take that out? Now, I think part of the consequence of last week was that none of us liked it when they were taking so long to make a decision and it sounded like last week they were rushing into a decision.
“That suggests to me that I don’t think the technology in its current form is suitable to our game. But I know I will be in a minority with that and my role within that is to accept that whatever my feelings are on it, ultimately, there’s still going to be an arbitrator of decisions and we have to abide by it when they come about.”
On Wednesday, Klopp raised the possibility of a replay, saying it was “the right thing to do”, but insisted he was speaking as a football man rather than the Liverpool manager.
Asked about his view on a rematch, Postecoglou warned there would be a game on all 365 days of the year if replays were awarded for every refereeing error.
“I think Jurgen’s said that maybe that was taken a little bit out of context,” he said.
“My view is when you’re talking about a replay, there’s got to be some sort of threshold and I don’t think a mistake is a threshold for that, irrespective of the consequences.
“If we stray into integrity or misappropriation of the law, then you maybe have a case to say, ‘well, you know what, there’s something there’.
“But, ultimately, when you strip it all back it was a mistake, that’s what it was. It was a unique mistake, people have used an unprecedented mistake and I agree with that, but it was still a mistake. So if your threshold for replays is mistakes by individuals, that’s 365 games a year, I reckon.”
Postecoglou has admitted that he has toned down his touchline celebrations since the introduction of VAR for fear of looking “like a clown” if the goal is subsequently ruled out.
The 58-year-old, whose side visit newly-promoted Luton on Saturday, admitted he was “happy” that he was unlikely to be working in football in another two decades given the increasing moves towards further use of technology and automation in officiating.
“It’s still fun – but this is probably the only time I’m happy I’m 58 and not 38,” he said. “I don’t know what the game is going to look like in 20 years’ time and I’m not sure I would like it with the way it’s going.
“I’ve always loved the fact that our game has more flaws in it. The uniqueness of our game is the goal is so hard to get. We always focus around that.
“Usually, goals came from either a combination of brilliance or some flaws by someone. A player, a manager, a referee, something happened and a goal came.
“We’re trying to sanitise all that by trying to make it into something that I just don’t think is our game. That’s not what I’ve loved about football. I’ve loved the imperfect nature of it.
“When you’re sitting there analysing every little decision – and it seems we’re going that way where people just want every decision to be right – then that will slow down the game invariably, there will be more interruptions and they’ll take away from what I love about the game.
“But that’s me personally, other people might see it differently.”