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Monday Cannon Fodder: specificity

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Good Monday morning, TSFers. There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the football media today about the VAR error in Tottenham-Liverpool that denied the Reds a good goal for a non-existent offside.

For those of you who missed it, Luis Diaz scored but was flagged offside by the linesman. VAR reviewed the goal, but we didn’t see the lines drawn, and the offside call stood. As it turns out, or at least according to the story we’ve been told, the VAR thought he was reviewing whether there had been an offside on a goal that had been given. The VAR checked the replay, clearly saw with his naked eye that Luis Diaz was onside, told the referee “check complete” and the match resumed.

The problem is that the goal had not been given. He was supposed to be checking whether Diaz was onside to award the goal in the first place. The error was compounded by the fact that once play has resumed, there is nothing they can do within the rules to correct their mistake.

Let’s get this bit out of the way quickly: the rule that once play has resumed, you can’t do anything has to change, and I expect that it will. There is no harm done by correcting an error, even several minutes after the fact. Heck, they could have gotten to halftime, realized what had happened, rewound the clock to the moment of the mistake, and resumed the match from there. That’s infinitely better than allowing the mistake to stand.

All that is besides the point. The point that I want to make is that we’re not going to get anywhere with any discussion of VAR until we have specificity. There is so much noise, so many people yelling about so many different things, so much what-about-ery that until we find some sort of consensus about what it is we’re discussing, it will be mostly useless, unproductive drivel.

I’m not even going to talk about what I think the problems are and what I think should be done — it’s besides the point. To get anywhere, everybody needs to get on the same page, define terms, and establish the parameters are what we’re discussing. Only then can we even begin to unpack and work towards solving the VAR “problem” that we’ve got.