Everton write to Premier League over VAR

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Detailed view of the result of the VAR check during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on November 03, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Detailed view of the result of the VAR check during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on November 03, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images) /

There are reports today that the Everton board have written to the Premier League to clarify the situation with regards to VAR.

This, if true, is a welcome move given that the powers that be at Everton have been deafeningly silent recently over the repeated way in which the Blues season has been affected by highly controversial VAR decisions.

First of all I’m not claiming that VAR is the reason that the Toffees have struggled again this term. Fundamentally that is down to failures on the part of the manager and his players.

However it’s true that VAR hasn’t helped, to put it mildly, and might have cost Everton at least four vital points, even at this early stage of the season.

In particular, the penalty awarded against the Blues at Brighton and then the penalty claim for handball that wasn’t awarded to the Toffees the following week, against Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park.

Had those decisions not gone against the Blues, the team might now be in the European places instead of the bottom half of the Premier League.

Then unsurprisingly, we had a penalty for a handball that wasn’t given in Manchester City’s favour when they played Liverpool last Sunday. It seemed a pretty good shout to me but then..?

Try as you might it’s very hard not to see more than just basic human error in that catalogue of decisions.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories generally, but you have to say this kind of ‘inconsistency’ just keeps on happening. Additionally these decisions do seem to have a funny habit of adversely affecting Everton in particular!

Previously the board at Goodison have seemed reluctant to speak out about this issue. And it’s not as if this problem has only just started affecting the Blues during this current season.

Remember a few seasons back when Oumar Niasse was retrospectively punished for allegedly diving to win a penalty at Crystal Palace?

It seemed to be the first such occasion that the Premier League had acted in this way. So we all waited with bated breath for other players, many of whom have been accused of engaging in such behaviour, to face similar action. To my knowledge no other players have been, strange that.

So we seem to be looking at a bias that is adversely affecting Everton more than many other clubs. I don’t really know why that might be, if indeed it’s true and more than just a touch of paranoia on my part!?

Regarding VAR, as I’ve said before the problem is that no form of technology is going to eliminate human error or bias, if human beings are still making the final decision. And in football this seems particularly problematic.

The major issue is that referees are reviewing each others decisions and so even without any bias, there is going to be a tendency to back each other up and hesitate to overrule their colleagues. That appears to be happening.

So perhaps we need to see a new panel of independent reviewers, although it’s hard to see who they would be if not former referees or players.

Interestingly Everton legend Graeme Sharp when interviewed by Toffeetv this week as part of the launch for the film ‘Howard’s Way’, also criticised the FA.

Sharp was critical of the fact that the FA, didn’t take a stronger line in supporting the Blues when the authorities decided to ban English clubs from European competition after the Heysel stadium disaster in 1985.

It’s undeniable that Everton were the most grievously affected by the ban, after Liverpool fans ran riot before the European Cup final that year.

The Toffees had just claimed the league championship by a record margin of 13 points, and had won the Cup-Winners-Cup with ease. Howard Kendall had assembled a superb team that would surely have been favourites to lift the European Cup the following season.

But at the time the English football authorities didn’t contest the complete ban of all English clubs for the next five years.

More from Prince Rupert's Tower

So Everton, (and others), were barred from Europe, despite having had nothing to do with what happened at Heysel.

It was a decision that almost certainly precipitated the premature break up of that great side and denied Evertonians the pleasure of possibly seeing other honours arrive at Goodison Park.

Our lovely neighbours often disparagingly refer to us as ‘bitter Blues’; you lot would be if you had to deal with our amount of misfortune!

Well getting back to the present, we’ll see what if anything comes from this move by Everton. More importantly too whether it leads to any change in the way VAR is working. Given the history though, I’m not hopeful!