As we predicted, last weekend’s test of VAR by the EPL was a big “nothingburger”, a secret trial that would make the medieval Inquisitors or latter day Stalinists proud. Mindful that they cannot operate as if we are in the 1920s and 30s, the PGMOL and the flacks who are in charge of its PR operations, such as it is, deigned to give the public at least one week notice of their intent. There was a follow-up making it clear to the plebs that the test would have no bearing on the refereeing decisions of the affected games. It was merely to evaluate how their personnel would handle multiple games at their proposed central hub at Stockley Park, near Heathrow, London.
Apparently the football supporting public, up and down the EPL, home and abroad, did not deserve a routine presser by Comrade Riley or his chief lieutenant responsible for implementing VAR. Do we even know if the latter even exists? Where is the PL’s equivalent of Giannni Infantino and Pierluigi Collina to explain to the public the PGMOL’s version of VAR just as the two-named did so well in the run-up to the World Cup?
Only One Reversible Decision in 5 Games?
Like any centralized state or corporate entity, with emphasis on command and control, the “dear, beloved” leaders of PGMOL (and the PL) after conducting their secret trial simply issued a press statement via the BBC which proclaimed:
Only one decision would have been overturned in the five games during which the Premier League trialled video assistant referees (VAR) on Saturday.
It is understood the Premier League is happy with how the trial went across all of Saturday’s 15:00 BST kick-offs.
The report reeks with the typical arrogance and condescension of those who think they are our betters. Nothing to see here, move along.
Apparently the PL and PGMOL think we are all ignorant, stupid, doltish EPL fans. Only ONE wrong decision in five games. Yeah right. One wonders how they came up with that data point. Isn’t it obvious that there is a not so subliminal message they wish to convey?
For those of us with at least two neurons and a working synapse, there are several obvious questions to ask the secret tribunal.
- How many and who were the Video Referees monitoring each of those games?
- Who and how many Assistant Video referees assisted each Video Referee?
Only when the PL and PGMOL come clean with answers to these questions can we even contemplate the veracity of their findings.
Notice however, that like the state controlled media of the Stalinist era, neither the BBC nor any of the corporate media had any critical questions to ask of our EPL rulers. They acted as mere stenographers faithfully reporting what the apparatchiks handed them.
Reality Contradicts the PGMOL
Meanwhile, the reality on the ground was polar opposite. It came in the form of Crystal Palace’s star forward, Wilfried Zaha, blowing the lid on the state of EPL refereeing.
“I feel like before anyone gets a red I’d have to get my leg broken or something. That’s why I lose my head,”
“Why am I getting different treatment from other players?
“It makes you not want to go on a run because someone will come through the back of you, and it doesn’t allow you to express yourself.”
Zaha claimed he is being deliberately hacked “every week” by opponents and pleaded for referees to give him more protection.
Whether or not you watch a lot of Crystal Palace games, it is well known among EPL fans that Zaha is one Palace’s major weapons renowned for his dribbling and ability to draw fouls. WhoScored.com is direct and straight to the point on his style of play:
- Likes to dribble
- Gets fouled often
- Commits fouls often
What Zaha has exposed is the widely-known fact that the PGMOL consistently ignores the Laws of the Game and the FIFA’s Interpretation of the Rules. For example, let us consider dangerous play according to FIFA:
Playing in a dangerous manner
Playing in a dangerous manner is defined as any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player himself). It is committed with an opponent nearby and prevents the opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.
A scissors or bicycle kick is permissible provided that, in the opinion of the referee, it is not dangerous to an opponent.
Playing in a dangerous manner involves no physical contact between the players. If there is physical contact, the action becomes an offence punishable with a direct free kick or penalty kick. In the case of physical contact, the referee should carefully consider the high probability that misconduct has also been committed.
- If a player plays in a dangerous manner in a “normal” challenge, the referee should not take any disciplinary action. If the action is made with obvious risk of injury, the referee should caution the player
- If a player denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity by playing in a dangerous manner, the referee should send off the player
Can we safely say that PL referees consistently caution players who conduct dangerous tackles “with the obvious risk of injury”?
The answer from Wilf Zaha is a clear and unambiguous NO. Unfortunately for the player, because of the despots that now rule the PGMOL, I predict that going forward he will have the wrath of comrade Riley and his cohorts to deal with. No longer will he get the fouls he once did and will instead see them ignored or, worse yet, suffer from the indignity of being cited for diving. By the way, given the lack of an open tribunal for appeals, he and his club will have no recourse.
Zaha’s fate, I predict, will be similar that of Arsenal’s Eduardo when he was wrongly cited for diving vs sore losers Glasgow Celtic in a 08/09 Champions League qualifier. The ensuing hysteria by the media that he was a cheating foreigner virtually marked the end of his English career and was also the start of a penalty embargo against the club that season.
All things considered, is the PGMOL and the PL organizations and leaders we can trust to conduct fair and transparent trials of VAR with clear criteria about what key refereeing decisions they must intervene?
I hear the sound of crickets.
We support free speech at https://www.minds.com/uniteforvar