Derby County
Championship bosses not put off by VAR issues
Colin Smith
157 days ago
Despite some teething problems with VAR, Derby County boss Phillip Cocu is the latest Championship manager to suggest it should be used in the second-tier.

The introduction of the Video Assistant Review system into England’s Premier League was supposed to herald a new era, one in which there would be no major refereeing errors leading to goals.

But within the first month of the campaign, referees’ chief Mike Riley admitted VAR had made four mistakes.

The Premier League resumed after the international break with more managers complaining about contentious decisions.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder accepted that VAR was correct to rule out an Ollie McBurnie goal for offside and Billy Sharp warranted a red card for a poor challenge during his side’s 1-0 defeat against Southampton at Bramall Lane.

However, he was disappointed that United were not awarded a penalty when Saints’ midfielder James Ward-Prowse looked to have handled the ball while defending a corner.

Liverpool were also denied a clear penalty when Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles seemingly hauled Joel Matip down in the box during the Reds’ 3-1 win at Anfield.

And, Watford’s first goal in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal on Sunday should have been disallowed but VAR missed Gerard Deulofeu’s foot in the box as Bernd Leno took his goal-kick.

Despite the ongoing issues, Championship managers are shouting for the technology to be introduced further down the football pyramid.

Jonathan Woodgate was first to make the request after his Middlesbrough side were denied two clear goals in a 1-0 defeat against Brentford and a stonewall penalty for handball in a draw with Millwall.

And, after his side’s 1-1 draw against Cardiff on Friday night, Cocu urged the EFL to consider using VAR after Martyn Waghorn appeared to be felled by Joe Bennett in the area but no penalty was given.

To rub salt into the wounds, Cocu felt there was a handball in the build-up to Cardiff being awarded the penalty they equalised from just 90 seconds later.

Asked whether he would like to see VAR for Championship games, the Dutchman, who replaced Frank Lampard in the summer, said: “I think it will happen. It’s a big league.

“Slowly you see more and more leagues, international games working with VAR. Technology comes into football step by step.

“It’s hard to predict but maybe in one or two seasons we will have it, and still there will be discussions about VAR. I’m not saying it’s the solution for everything.”

However, the fact VAR isn’t being used in the Championship this season could actually turn out to be a positive.

While key decisions are being missed, the technology has been shown to possess flaws.

In effect, the Premier League clubs are being used as guinea pigs for VAR and the Championship should have a much more efficient system in place by the time it filters down in a season or two.