Premier League

Players are turning against VAR, and it's time to listen

James Milner and Jordan Henderson were the latest two names adding to the increasing dissention against the technology

1:30pm on Sunday 29th November 2020
Paul Macdonald

James Milner and Jordan Henderson are the latest players to add their voices to the dissent against the application of VAR in the Premier League.

In yet another tight offside call decided by millimetres, Liverpool were denied victory at Brighton when Mo Salah ran clean through to score, only to be pulled back.

The application of VAR technology to decide on offsides continues to prove a massive problem for fans and players alike.

After Manchester City's defeat at Tottenham last week, Kevin De Bruyne made his frustrations clearly known, saying: "I don’t know the rules anymore, honestly.

“What can we say? I have been playing professional football for 12 years, and in the first nine years, there were no rule changes. Then in the last three years, there has been a lot of rule changes. I don’t know why. Football is such a nice game. The guys who make the rules should be people in the game. I don’t know who makes them. I would just say, be consistent, that’s it.”

De Bruyne's comments were echoed by the Liverpool duo, with Henderson saying: "“I can’t really speak about it because I’ll get myself in trouble,” Henderson told BBC Sport. “If they’re offside, you do the line thing, then what can you do?

“I just want to play football as normal. I saw Kevin De Bruyne saying in an interview they have changed so many rules we don’t know what they are anymore. That for me is a big problem.

“We are talking about instances all the time and not the football. In my opinion, I would rather play without it, yeah.”

And Milner took to social media to post his thoughts about 'falling out of love with the game'.

If the players themselves are saying that they don't know the rules and the on-pitch officials continue to be arrogant and demonstrative with players who simply seek clarification, then we risk pushing them into a corner.

They are already being pushed to breaking limit by the nature of the coronavirus calendar this season, and they are being alienated further by people making rule changes that they cannot comprehend.

A full revolt could arrive unless the dysfunction that continues to blight the game is recognised, and fixed, at the correct level. Or else interest in a very simple and straightforward game could be lost.

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