Tag Archives: VAR

We Need VAR For The Singapore Premier League To Help The Referees

While Game Week 2 showed signs of improvement from a refereeing standpoint, I think the Singapore Premier League can benefit from the inclusion of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. Why? Well, our current referees need all the help they can get. Bad calls ruin a game.

Patrick Kinghorn has been pretty vocal opponent for the VAR system and regularly mentioned it in game week 1. It may have very well been a case of the commentator’s curse, but let’s face it, the officiating in TPU’s opening game was horrible, culminating in an egregious call on Delwinder Singh that lead to a penalty which turned the tide of the game. The referee that fixture had a really torrid first half.

But hey, as human beings, we tend to make mistakes. We are, after all, fallible creatures. So, I disagree with Mr. Kinghorn. VAR is needed because referees need an extra hand. Perhaps how we utilize the VAR system could be refined, but without it, the SPL is at risk of being laughed at because of seriously bad calls by referees.

Make no mistake, I am not suggesting that VAR will completely eliminate errors by the referee . It would, however, help referees re-examine their decisions. It is extremely difficult for referees to spot fouls in fast-paced play and make important calls if they only had a glimpse of things. Refereeing is an extremely difficult job, and there should be more acknowledgement for the job that they do. Mistakes do happen because of how hard it is to referee. Although, at the same time, this should not be an excuse for poor officiating.

VAR would help referees. Yet, is implementing VAR a feasible option for the Football Association of Singapore?

VAR is by no means cheap but if the government and the FAS feel that 2034 is a truly achievable goal, no cost should be spared to ensure. Of course, as an external bystander, it is easy for me to mention that the FAS has the capacity to throw some money around. Yet, if talks about the privatization of clubs actually materialize, then the FAS would definitely have the financial resources available to implement the VAR technology.

The real question is how much does VAR cost? Well, I don’t have any exact figures but based on the 2018 Brazilian top flight season, the cost of the use of VAR was approximately at US$6.2 million (~ZAR 87 million). While the Brazilian Football Confederation proposed a levy on each club to help fund the total cost, such an initiative would not fly in the SPL until all clubs are privatized.

Of course, some would argue that VAR is taking the fun out of football. Well to those people I say, we need to remain relevant. Besides helping referees, the implementation of VAR also helps Singaporean sides remain relevant in a world where teams are adapting their system and style of play to capitalize on the technology. Southampton manager has openly stated that “VAR has changed the way he sets up his team to play.” While others haven’t openly declared it yet, it shows through.

From what we can tell, instead of removing VAR altogether, they are looking at ways to refine it. It is likely here to stay whether we like it or not. Is it perfect? Of course not. However, it most definitely needs to be implemented here. If not, we can never fully adapt to it and we will certainly fall behind.

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Heroes and Villains of the EPL

The Premier League is back, and it has not disappointed at all. Drama from VAR, referees and players have dominated headlines. There have been some surprising results but the resumption of the Premier League have seen some teams make sluggish starts which could be due to the long break. However, once the nerves had settled, it was business as usual. Here are some of the best and worst performers over the weekend.

Heroes over the Weekend

Bruno Fernandes

Fernandes continues his fiery form since his transfer and has been at the heart of United’s best attacking displays. Fernandes was a joy to watch and it seems he is able to visualize the game slightly faster than his teammates. It is also no coincidence that Manchester United has remained undefeated in all of the games Fernandes has started. The Portuguese midfielder is proving to be a talismanic player that United have been lacking. His clever passes, ability to drop his shoulder and change direction allowed him to stay ahead of his marker and get out of tight spaces. Fernandes’ game would only improve with more quality players around him and the Pogba-Fernandes partnership has got off to a great start.

Christian Pulisic

The American star scored after coming on for five minutes in the Chelsea’s game against Villa. With more performances like this, Pulisic could become a more influential player in Lampard’s team. His goal meant that Chelsea have some cushion going into their next fixtures as the Blues still have to face Manchester City, Leicester City and champions-elect, Liverpool. After coming off the bench, Pulisic should have a better shout at starting Chelsea’s next game. It remains to be seen if this is a one-off performance for Pulisic but the American does have the talent to become a regular in Chelsea’s starting lineup.

Phil Foden

The talented English midfielder was one of the top performers over the weekend with goals against Arsenal and Burnley. A tactically astute midfielder, Foden has the ability to pop up in the right places to pounce on opportunities leading to goals. Foden’s left-footed finish from the edge of the box should earn himself a starting place in City’s next game. His talents are wasted warming City’s bench. He should establish himself as a starter at City soon or should seek first team football elsewhere over the summer.

Neal Maupay

A villain in the eyes of Arsenal fans, Maupay had collided with Leno and had caused the latter to land awkwardly. Leno’s knee had bent backwards from the landing and it seems to have damaged his cruciate ligament. However, Maupay’s 94th minute goal against Arsenal could be the one that saves Brighton from relegation this season. The crucial goal meant that Brighton established five points away from relegation. The Seagulls now have a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League and Maupay’s could be the one that saves them.

Villains over the Weekend

David De Gea

Another game, another mistake. Full credit goes to Bergwijn for his determination to drive forward with the ball. A mistake as well from Maguire, who did not have the pace to match Bergwijn. However, Bergwijn’s shot should at least have been parried away by the Spaniard. A keeper of De Gea’s calibre should have dealt with the shot better. The goal was a sucker punch for United as Spurs did not offer as much as they could going forward and allowed United to have the ball. De Gea’s mistake was costly to United’s top four ambitions and would only increase the talk of Dean Henderson taking over the no. 1 spot at Old Trafford.

Jonathan Moss

“Jon, you’re taking the p*ss”, McTominay clearly summarized the performance of Jon Moss after the referee booked James for a foul. Moss had been lenient throughout the Spurs vs Man United match as he did not pull out his cards for earlier fouls. Even if Moss had wanted to limit himself from showing cards after the resumption of the season, he was clearly out of his depth with the second penalty awarded to Manchester United. Fortunately, the intervention of VAR had corrected the wrong decision. It seems like a mistake would eventually be made by Moss whenever he referees a match.

David Luiz

The ultimate disaster-class. Subbed in for Mari in the 24th minute, “assisted” Raheem Sterling for City’s first goal and then brought down Mahrez in the penalty box to give away a penalty that was converted by De Bruyne. Luiz had singlehandedly undo Arteta’s organizational work on Arsenal’s defence as the Gunners were playing well before Mari’s injury. Luiz failed to clear De Bruyne’s whipped cross and the ball had kindly bounced in front of Sterling who finished the goal well. Luiz had also failed to read Mahrez’s movement and the attempt to tackle Mahrez had brought the winger down instead. Luiz’s failure to read the game and clumsy tackling would surely see him transferred out of Arsenal. He is simply no longer the defender he used to be.