The officiating scandals of the 2002 World Cup must remind us why the advent of the video referee is a good thing
With that collective wit for which football fans are justly renowned, the Spurs contingent at the Etihad Stadium broke into song last weekend when Manchester City’s winning goal was ruled out in the last minute. “VAR, my lord, VAR,” they chanted, to the tune of Kumbaya, as the video assistant referee scrubbed out Gabriel Jesus’s dramatic clincher, adjudging Aymeric Laporte to have handled the ball with the most glancing of touches. It was a case of Jesus being thwarted by a higher authority.
But if Spurs fans saw VAR as a kind of divine intervention, a deus ex machina worthy of devotional praise, many other observers espied the work of the devil. The Match of the Day pundit Danny Murphy wrote that it “spoiled the end of a great game”.