Premier League Managers Divide Opinion On VAR

Football tends to offer one of the most opinionated spaces in the world, and the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) into the English game has only fuelled that.

Trials have taken place in the League Cup and FA Cup, while the Premier League is set to vote in April on whether it will implement the technology next season. FIFA plans to use it at the World Cup this summer.

So with so many different opinions on offer, let's take a look at what the Premier League clubs have to say. Here, Newsweek captures the main viewpoints from each team, with managers and officials making their opinions clear:

Arsenal

Arsene Wenger after losing the League Cup final said: "The second goal is offside. I don't know, we accepted the VAR, I just watched it again. It's a mystery for me how you can watch that on replay and not give offside."

AFC Bournemouth

Manager Eddie Howe: "I'm not against progress and change and a way of making the game better. I need to be convinced it will work and won't ruin the game as we know it.

"Everyone is mindful of the fact that the speed of the game is one of its great strengths and anything that slows that down, I'm not sure is a good thing.

"If it proves to be a success and the supporters feel it is more beneficial for the game then I will be all for that."

Brighton and Hove Albion

Chris Hughton, who was in charge of the team for the first VAR game in English football in January, said: "Am I a fan of it? I think you have to wait for the end product on that one. But I understand the reason why we're doing it, why we're trying it.

"Every time there's a bad decision, there's a clamour for better technology.

"I am probably a bit more of a traditionalist, that we do have a game and for as long as we can remember there are always going to be controversies and whether it was a penalty or not, or whether that ball was over the line."

Burnley

ManagerSean Dyche: "It takes time for things to get streamlined and to work. You've got all the parts, it's not just the technology you've got all the people involved to get used to it.

"I'm sure the refs are thinking they want to be sure even with VAR. But I think the end product will be helping referees in the good job that they do to give them the best chance to make the best decisions."

Chelsea

Antonio Conte, the team's head coach, said: "For me, there's disappointment about (not enough) extra time. In the second half, the doctor went onto the pitch twice and the referee stopped for VAR, so you have to give more minutes of extra time.

"In Italy, sometimes extra time can be seven, eight or nine minutes."

Crystal Palace

Chairman Steve Parish said: "I'm very worried about VAR. I think we are going down an extremely dangerous road.

"I think you will lose the fringe viewers because those people who don't watch every week will tune in and find the rules have changed, they won't know what's going on.

"We are always talking about viewers having shorter attention spans. So why have all these stoppages and make a 90 minute game last 120 minutes?"

Manager Roy Hodgson said: "I experienced it during the Confederations Cup, albeit from a television studio. It was chaotic there, so if you ask me what my opinion of it is, based on my experience of what happened during the Confederations Cup, it didn't work very well at all, because the communication between the referee and the guy on the machine wasn't working well."

Everton—Not yet commented.

Referee Kevin Friend
Referee Kevin Friend at the John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield, England, February 17. Gareth Copley/Getty

Huddersfield

David Wagner, following defeat to Manchester United in which a VAR decision went for his team, said: "When the referee made his decision, however the decision will be I don't like it.

"Yes, the decision went in our favor but this VAR for me kills the emotion of the game. This is why I don't like it but I am not the person who makes the decision."

Leicester City

Manager Claude Puel said: "I think we saw in the situation that it was important.

"It was a good thing for us. The video is not perfect because we should have had free-kicks for fouls on (Vicente) Iborra but for the goal it was good."

Liverpool

Manager Jurgen Klopp said: "Harsh challenges should be picked up.

"I'm not 100 percent sure but I think if the video assistant referee is not responsible for something like that we should think over the rules again because the ref needs help in a situation like this.

"I'm sure he would have whistled if he saw it, would've seen it exactly how it was, but he didn't. If you see it on television it's just horrible."

Manchester City

Manager Pep Guardiola: "I don't have an opinion. Not at all. I have to watch it to decide. If UEFA and FIFA decide, it is ok. I am open-minded to ideas in the right direction but I don't have an opinion right now. I need time."

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho, the United manager, said: "Of course they (VAR) need adjustments.

"They need to make sure they don't change the dynamic of the game too much, the emotion of the game too much—people waiting a couple of minutes to know if they can jump (and celebrate) because it was a goal.

"But from my professional perspective, I like the feeling of a right decision coming. It's a penalty or not a penalty, it's handball or not handball, it's a red card or not a red card. I think a fair decision is a feeling that I like."

Newcastle United—Not yet commented.

Southampton

Manager Mauricio Pellegrino: "I think we have to try and analyze if it's possible to help the sport to make better decisions, even for the referee.

"We have to try using video technology in the Premier League. In every single team sport technology helps us to make better decisions. Why not [in] football?"

Stoke City

Chairman Peter Coates: "I didn't realise—so far, to me—how poorly it is actually operated in practice. I'm completely against this long delay. That's not how we thought it would work. We thought there would be hardly any delay.

"I don't want to go down the rugby route—that's a nightmare. Football's a fast-flowing game. I don't want too much interruption. I also think controversy is part of the game, it always will be and it will be with this system."

Swansea City

Manager Carlos Carvahal: "It is a question of attitude. The VAR started in Portugal last season and I saw some games where it was very strange.

"But after that people adapted to it and I think there are a lot of positives in the decisions.

"The referees are very good, but in that moment they didn't see something crucial to the game and it can cause a big damage in the final result.

"If we can have something that helps the referees to take a better decision I am happy to see it in a good way."

Tottenham Hotspur

Manager Mauricio Pochettino: "It was so complicated because of the new system, it was difficult to keep focus on the game.

"I told the players to keep focused at halftime. The circumstances were difficult. I think we have the best referees in Europe or the world but I don't know if this system will help them or cause more confusion.

"It is a game of emotion. If we are going to kill this emotion I think we are going to change the game."

Watford

New manager Javi Gracia: "England have good referees. If we review the mistakes, we have less mistakes.

"If they can do their job better with the help of technology, we must try to help the referees. So, for me, it's important we help the referees."

West Brom

Manager Alan Pardew: "From the sideline, it was strange. It wasn't what I'd like to see going forward.

"We were struggling at the end because we ran out of bodies and the VAR system was a problem because I think we got a player with a hamstring injury because they were standing around for too long.

"It was just weird. We waited so long to wait for the decisions, the stadium went flat and every goal was a bit of a mockery because we were waiting for the decision."

West Ham—Not yet commented.