Duncan Castles is supposed to be a journalist but on social media he is a parody figure renowned for his sycophancy towards Jose Mourinho and Jorge Mendes during Mou’s tenure at United. It was so craven, so boundless that even normally respectful fellow-professionals were forced to put great distance between him and them due to the damage he was doing to their already discredited profession.
Yet Castles was recently given full license by a UK publication, The Daily Record, to bloviate at length how VAR was ruining the beautiful game.
“It produces controversy when it was supposed to remove it. But worst of all it changes the very nature of the game – and not for the better.”
The fact that a fake journo was used to carry water for the anti-VAR crowd in the UK media is evidence that VAR is gaining ground despite every attempt to sabotage its implementation.
Chief among the saboteurs is Mike Riley and the PGMOL who for two years are still in trials despite FIFA-IFAB successfully implementing the system at the 2018 world Cup, setting the bar for all future initiatives. Since then UEFA in two months implemented VAR in the Champions League and FIFA itself recently decided to implement VAR at next summer’s Women’s World Cup. Yet Riley is still seeking a way to implement VAR without a pitchside monitor for use by the referee, which is in violation of Law 4 stipulating the referee has the final say on decisions on-field.
Unlike Duncan Castles and his ilk, an increasing number of premier league managers are now advocating VAR.
Unai Emery is the latest after that completely shambolic performance by Anthony Taylor in last Saturday’s North London Derby (NLD):
“One month ago I said to everybody VAR is coming forward – it is difficult for referees. You can analyse with TV and it is easy but referees can’t use that now.”
Claudio Ranieri, after Fulham was defeated by West Ham in February, courtesy of a handball goal by Javier Hernandez:
“For the referee, it’s very difficult to see everything. VAR could make it better,
“It exists in Italy, in the Champions League and VAR will be important in England to help the referee.”
Neil Warnock at Cardiff was in a similar position to Ranieri, losing badly to Watford sparked by failure by the referee to spot a penalty, and said in the post-game presser:
“It’s human nature and it’s hard refereeing, but with VAR that would’ve been solved in 30 seconds really. I think everybody on the pitch, you could see the reaction of their players, everybody knew it was a penalty.”
Pep Guardiola, who last December put UEFA to shame for a major penalty blunder by a referee, recently said:
“I am a big fan of VAR”
Based on the bovine excrement emitted by Duncan Castles and company , one would never believe VAR is less than two years old, if measured from its international launch at the last world cup. Like any new technology VAR has many teething problems. The experience at a recent Champions League game where the pitchside monitor failed, causing a prolonged delay in the decision-making, seemed to have incensed Castles so much, he refused to acknowledge that the eventual decision by the officials was judged to be correct by both affected teams. This was supplemented by UEFA providing the public with a transparent explanation. In an era where 4K video standards are now normal, apparently the public should rely on the “lying eyes” of on-field referees who cannot keep up with the speed of play or the deceptive acts by players constantly seeking to gain an illegal advantage.
But then there are numerous Duncan Castles out there who are content with the status quo and who seriously oppose VAR without proposing a viable alternative that will bring football in line with major sports such as hockey, lawn tennis, basketball and cricket. Hopefully they will eventually become similar objects of ridicule as has become football’s #1 fake journalist.