Danny Murphy wants VAR to be scrapped after Premier League opening weekend

Tom HomewoodAssistant Producer
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Former Fulham player Danny Murphy during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Sunderland at Craven Cottage on April 27, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Offside/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Former Fulham player Danny Murphy during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Sunderland at Craven Cottage on April 27, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Offside/Getty Images)

Former Liverpool and England midfielder Danny Murphy wants VAR to be scrapped.

The Premier League welcomed the video assistant referee for the opening weekend of the season, with the new technology providing many a talking point for fans and pundits.

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There were technical difficulties in Liverpool on Friday night, three divisive decisions as Manchester City beat West Ham United 5-0 on Saturday and a Wolverhampton Wanderers goal ruled out for handball on Sunday.

READ MORE: VAR fail delays Premier League season opener between Liverpool and Norwich

READ MORE: VAR makes first major decision as Gabriel Jesus goal overturned

READ MORE: Fans fume as VAR causes more controversy across the Premier League

"I know the majority of what VAR did at the weekend was good - corrected some decisions that would not have been - but if you gave me the choice I'd knock VAR on the head", the 42-year-old told TalkSPORT.

"I agree with the Wolves manager. Two minutes celebrating, then you take away that joy. Then the other fans are celebrating a non-goal."

Sterling argues with referee Mike Dean after City's 3rd goal is disallowed by VAR (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
Sterling argues with referee Mike Dean after City's 3rd goal is disallowed by VAR (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

The Match of the Day pundit was also critical of the decision made when Man City’s Raheem Sterling was ruled offside by the tiniest of margins before setting up Gabriel Jesus.

"Do we really want to see goals disallowed for an offside that's an armpit ahead of another armpit by four millimetres?" Murphy said.

"He might be offside by four millimetres by the letter of the law. But it's an entertainment business, isn't it?

"The Sterling goal that was allowed later, there was muted celebrations.

"You could see he was thinking 'Is this going to get taken away?' and the Man City fans were clapping. It was like applause at the end of the ballet!"

VAR was first introduced in European top flight football at the beginning of the 2018-19 season in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

It was also used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia which was widely deemed as triumphant, and according to FIFA, had a success rate of 99.3%.

A video operation room (VOR) for the 2018 World Cup in Russia (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A video operation room (VOR) for the 2018 World Cup in Russia (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

However, as VAR always does, it caused huge controversy in the final after France were awarded a penalty for handball giving them a 2-1 lead over Croatia. They went on to win 4-2.

"I went to the (VAR) conference and it was helpful. I like the fact that they are really going to set the bar high in terms of overturning anything unless it's a really bad decision." Added Murphy.

"I like that mindset because that's what helped the World Cup run smoothly in Russia and I understand where they are coming from.

"But it's creating too many areas of chat, and I'd rather be talking about tactics and players."

As well as the time it takes for each review, lack of clarity, causing more confusion and consistency appear to be the three main areas of weakness for VAR.

Despite what it may seem for those eagerly awaiting the decision of the assistant referee’s review, the average time it takes per incident is only 80 seconds. Not a huge amount considering it could save a teams season.

The Press Association understands there were around 70 VAR checks on the Premier League's opening weekend, compared to an average of around eight per game during trial matches and in other competitions already using VAR.

Referee Nestor Pitana consulting VAR and consequently awarding France a penalty during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final (Photo by Robert Cianflone - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Referee Nestor Pitana consulting VAR and consequently awarding France a penalty during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final (Photo by Robert Cianflone - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher felt VAR had proved its value and insisted the system's operation will become smoother during the course of the season.

"You have to remember it's day one, Gallagher told Sky Sports.

"It will get quicker and slicker, because on the first day no VAR wanted to be in a position where it was rushed and he made a mistake.

"So I can understand them taking a few extra seconds on the opening day.

"As it goes on week by week, the operators will get things to them a lot quicker and it will get a lot slicker."

Gallagher also dismissed claims that Jesus' goal at the London Stadium should have stood because the call was so marginal.

"I don't think however good an assistant referee is he would spot those," he said. "It just shows how effective VAR is and that's what people ask for.

"They ask for factual evidence and the factual evidence is there for everyone to see. If a ball's over the line by a yard it's a goal, it's the same if it's over the line by a millimetre.

"That's a defining line and offside is exactly the same. I don't see any difference."

Additional from PA.

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