VAR hasn’t stopped people moaning about the ref, says Gareth Southgate

England boss Gareth Southgate believes VAR has not done anything to resolve controversial refereeing decisions.

The off-field decision-making process has come under renewed fire this week after Liverpool were denied a fair goal in their defeat at Tottenham when VAR Darren England mistakenly thought the on-field decision was onside and inadvertently validated the linesman’s offside call, with play restarting before the mistake was noticed.

There has been a huge fallout from the gaffe, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp calling for the game to be replayed while the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has announced a review into VAR and its practices.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
There was frustration for Liverpool at Tottenham on Saturday (John Walton/PA)

“Well, all I would say is everybody used to go to the pub and moan about the ref and they still go to the pub and moan about the ref,” he quipped.

“So I’m not sure what we’ve resolved, really. I don’t like it, never have, so I have sort of dismissed it.

“I just was always brought up as a kid that the referee’s decision was final. You might agree or disagree but we have to get on with it.

“I didn’t ever feel we were going to resolve every issue.

“Once you open up a technology opportunity, you are normally going that way and you have got to refine and improve on what happens. But yes, I don’t like it.”

The PGMOL has taken unprecedented steps in recent times of retrospectively releasing audio of the decision-making process, including England’s expletive-filled mistake at the weekend.

But fans in the stadium remain in the dark at the time, often left waiting for up to five minutes while decisions are scrutinised in Stockley Park.

VAR Media Briefing – Premier League Productions
Decisions are scrutinised at Stockley Park (PA)

“I am sitting in the stadium next to people and I am lucky as I normally get a free ticket and other people pay a lot of money and haven’t got a clue or are on the phone to someone at home asking what’s going on.

“The frustration, you can feel it in the stadium, you can feel the view.

“I know if we didn’t have it people would go back to, ‘well this could be resolved’, but when I am in the stadiums my sense is they don’t necessarily want 14 minutes of added time or a decision by something that they are not totally across the process of.”

Meanwhile, Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou has said he does not know if he likes “where the game’s heading” in the wake of the VAR controversy.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, prior to the audio emerging and Klopp’s suggestion of a replay, Postecoglou questioned the game’s pursuit of “perfection”.

He told the paper: “It seems like we’re now heading towards that space of trying to find perfection in a game where the beauty of it is the imperfection.

“Sometimes we think it’s the brilliance – yeah, it is the brilliance, but mostly on the back of somebody’s flaw, either an opposition player or your own teammate or a referee.

“We’re trying to make this perfect game, which the other codes do – but they have to, because goals in their game don’t mean anything, so they try and create this perfect product. And that’s not football.

“Football is Maradona putting it (in with) his hand. I don’t like it, but that’s the game, and if you want to eliminate that? Yes, OK, but if you’re searching for perfection within football, I just think you take away from what the essence of it is.”

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