VAR too expensive for the Women’s Super League, says Casey Stoney

Suzanne Wrack
The Guardian
<span>Photograph: REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

Casey Stoney does not believe there will ever be enough resources to support VAR in the Women’s Super League. The Manchester United Women manager, a vocal critic of refereeing standards, added that women’s football “can spend its money on far better things than VAR” and rued the over-reliance on the technology as disadvantaging attacking football.

“I don’t think we’ll ever see it,” Stoney said of VAR. “I don’t think we’ll ever be resourced for it because there’s not the money in the game.

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“I thought we were going towards, years ago, the advantage for the attacker to make it a more entertaining game, and it seems to have gone completely the other way now, so no I don’t want it in the women’s game at all.”

The former England defender was a pundit for BBC Sport at the Women’s World Cup where she watched VAR put to the test for the first time in women’s football and it dominated proceedings.

The Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, Scotland’s Lee Alexander and Jamaica’s Sydney Schneider were all adjudged to have taken a step off their line during penalties, forcing retakes after VAR reviews.

Incidents such as Japan captain Saki Kumagai being penalised for a harsh handball in their semi-final loss to the Netherlands and a marginal offside call against Ellen White in England’s semi-final against USA denied the Lionesses an equaliser, also put the technology in the spotlight.

“I don’t like it,” said Stoney bluntly, following this season’s VAR controversies in the Premier League. “I like the drama of football. I like the fact that a ref makes a mistake because they’re human and, if I’m sitting in the crowd, I want to be able to celebrate a goal and not have to wait two minutes to see if it’s onside, offside, if it’s touched someone’s fingernail or toenail’s offside.”

However, she was keen to see the introduction of goalline technology. “It’s black and white, and you know if it’s in or out. At the 2015 World Cup I would have loved goalline technology to not be there,” she joked of the decision that confirmed Laura Bassett’s 92nd‑minute own goal in their semi-final defeat by Japan.

“But sometimes, especially in the men’s game, it can win or lose you a game, or keep you your job, so I would like to see that in the women’s game. I don’t see why not on that one.”

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