Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher disagree on how they would fix VAR after Ollie Watkins strike ruled out
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have discussed changing the way VAR is implemented in a deep debate on Monday Night Football.
Ollie Watkins thought he had earned a point for Aston Villa at West Ham in stoppage time, only for VAR to seemingly judge the striker to be millimetres offside, leaving the Hammers to hold on for a 2-1 victory.
And Carragher believes VAR has taken the enjoyment out of football and maintains referees need to stop using the screens on the side of the pitch to influence their decision.
“I was a massive fan of VAR,” Carragher said on Monday Night Football. “They were bringing it in to help the game and I was defending it at the start as there were teething problems, but now we’re at the stage where the majority of people in this country haven’t bought into it.
“I don’t think people are enjoying football as much. The moment that sums it up for me is David Marshall saving the penalty for Scotland, a massive moment in his career and he couldn’t celebrate as he was waiting for the referee. If I could go back, I would use VAR in a different way.
“This was brought in to help referees, and let’s not forget we were all calling for it, managers were calling for it when they were getting big decisions wrong. Referees need help. But I actually think, in some ways, VAR has exposed referees.
“I don’t think it’s been a big help to them. They’re having second looks at incidents and they are so obsessed with something that they don’t see the bigger picture. They are so obsessed with looking for that offside, that they miss the foul.
“This nonsense of going to the screen has got to stop,” Carragher added. “It doesn’t make any sense. I know for a fact that when a referee goes to the screen, he is not looking at it seeing if he has made a mistake, he is getting told by Stockley Park where the infringement is. I’ve spoken to a referee and he’s told me that’s the case.”
While Neville disagrees on Carragher’s point about referees using the pitch-side monitors, and has instead called for the rules to be changed.
“Going to the screen isn’t the problem,” Neville said. “What’s happened now is that referees’ authority is being questioned, their credibility is being questioned and they are even doubting themselves.
“It’s the application of technology that is the big problem in this moment in time, and the rules themselves. The handball is a nonsense. The offside rule about the arm is a nonsense. Those two rules need changing. At that point, VAR will become more acceptable.”