For better or worse, VAR is designed to ensure football objectively follows the laws of the game. It just turns out some laws are more important than others.
So, why wasn’t VAR used to order a retake? Let’s take a look at UEFA’s criteria.
Clear and obvious error? Check. The rules state goalkeepers must have part of one foot on the line when the penalty is taken. Adrian, quite clearly, did not.
Match-changing situation? Check. It literally decided the game.
The incident begs the question: what is VAR actually for? If it takes such a microscopic approach to offside, then why does it ignore goalkeeper encroachment?
You could argue Adrian didn’t gain an advantage by edging forward, but you could also say that Raheem Sterling didn’t benefit from having his armpit in an offside position on Saturday. Common sense isn’t relevant anymore. VAR simply asks, ‘Is that against the rules?’
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It’s just weird that in this new technologically advanced world, with such intense and explicit detail involved in every decision, some rules are simply disregarded for no apparent reason, while others are placed under the strongest possible magnifying glass.
Mason Mount had a goal disallowed last night when he just as far offside as Adrian was off his line. What’s the difference?
I’m not actually of the opinion that VAR should look at goalkeeper encroachment. Everyone does it and I’m not sure it affects the outcome of a penalty enough to warrant a retake.
Everyone encroaches the box, too, but Declan Rice was still penalised on Saturday, with Sergio Aguero subsequently getting another chance from the spot.
The point is, whether it’s a good thing or not, we’ve decided that VAR is going keep the game explicitly in line with the rules, even if it’s a matter of millimetres.
Once you subscribe to that method, you can’t simply pick and choose which laws to implement. It has to be all or nothing.
Three penalties were retaken in the Women’s World Cup when VAR spotted goalkeeper encroachment. Are the rules of football suddenly different for the UEFA Super Cup?
The Premier League has already come out and clarified its stance on goalkeeper encroachment for VAR’s debut season in the English top-flight, insisting it will be left to on-field officials.
But Pierluigi Collina, a member of the UEFA Referees Committee, warned the Premier League it must enforce the rule.
“The laws of the game are the same all over the world,” he said. “If the law exists, it must be respected.”
Well, apparently not.