VAR is like the Jacob Rees-Mogg of the football world. Not everyone wanted it at all, now in action pretty much everyone hates it, and when it makes noise, collective moans can be heard across the country.
But while Tomas Soucek’s red card at Craven Cottage for seemingly nothing more than the movement of his arm over his head once again resulted in an army of angry villagers knocking down the door of VAR, the angry mob picked the wrong target to express their anger as it is human error instead that is responsible for another unfathomable red card in the Premier League.
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Yes, Soucek would not have been sent off if VAR had not existed. Soucek’s arm brushing Aleksandar Mitrovic’s face would never be seen or heard again. But no matter how many reruns you see of the incident, Soucek’s association with Mitrovic is not a red card.
Two men and two men alone are to blame. Lee Mason, who was sitting in Stockley Park, asked referee Mike Dean for another look. Both have been so bad this season that a Premier League team has asked authorities to keep the couple out of their games
Mason therefore believed there was something inside. It was later revealed that Mason had asked Dean to take another look because of Soucek’s “clenched fist”. Oh no, we need to alert the church elders!
The farce did not end there when Dean took center stage, of course without reluctance. The Chairman of the Celebrity Refs Association loved nothing more than strolling over to the pitchside monitor for another look.
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In Europe, some referees pass by to save time. Not Dean. He then watched the repetition after the repetition for several minutes. If you have to watch something so many times over and over again, you can’t be sure that it is a red card and you would have to be safe sending someone off given the suspension that will ensue for that player.
How Dean can then come to the conclusion that it was a dangerous game by Soucek is just amazing. Even Mitrovic told Dean it wasn’t a red card.
More notably, this only takes four days after Dean sent Jan Bednarek from Southampton to Old Trafford in a similarly absurd manner.
That decision was quickly overturned by the FA mid-week, so you would THINK Dean would be a little more cautious about sending someone off the next time he consulted the pitchside monitor. Oh no.
It is very easy and often unfair to criticize referees considering how hard they work. If you haven’t, you won’t know how difficult it is to keep up with the game and make decisions in a split second.
However, this is not one of those occasions. Mason and Dean devised a red card scenario of their own, knowing that VAR will take the blame for their mistakes.
Technology isn’t responsible for it. VAR is not to blame. With another referee behind the screen at Stockley Park, this incident wouldn’t even get a second thought. The fact it’s Mason and then Dean is why our blood boils again for the second time a week and worries about ruining the beautiful game have put their ugly heads back on their feet.
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