Video assistant referee technology has been implemented to eradicate controversy and ensure correct decisions, but in Manchester United’s first game with VAR in place that notion was placed under serious scrutiny.
With half time approaching and Man United a goal up at the Kirklees Stadium, Ashley Young made an impressive run down the right hand side and found Juan Mata, who rounded the keeper before tucking the ball home.
It certainly looked like a close call and the referee consulted Neil Swarbrick, sitting in Heathrow with a bunch of monitors in front of him, to clarify whether Mata was onside.
After a prolonged period of waiting, the fans kept completely in the dark, the goal was eventually declared offside, and the reason we were given for the decision – the clear piece of evidence needed to overturn the on-field call – was this.
No, I’m not even joking. A bunch of wonky lines that don’t actually pertain to the situation at hand whatsoever. Somehow, that above image was deemed enough evidence to rule Mata offside.
And it gets worse. BT Sport, a television station, actually has better technology than those making the decisions and their cameras showed Mata to be perfectly onside, his arm the only part of his body ahead of the line.
Needless to say, VAR still has miles to go before it can be deemed a reliable tool for accuracy in our game.