Football’s Video Assistant Referee show is turning out to be funnier than the Festival Fringe - Vladimir McTavish
And already there has been anger, frustration and controversy over decisions taken by the Video Assistant Referee. When VAR was finally brought in midway through last season, the hope was that it would bring an end to arguments about dodgy decisions, but it seems to have stirred up more.
While this is not true, VAR was meant to quell these conspiracies. As things have turned out, it’s been quite the reverse as numerous 50:50 penalty decisions last year were ruled in favour of the Glasgow team in blue.
It will surprise many Hibs, Hearts and Celtic fans to learn that the Scottish Premier League VAR centre is situated in a place called Clydesdale House. Contrary to popular myth, this is not at an Orange Lodge in Larkhall.
I personally think VAR leads to lazy refereeing. Quite literally. And let’s face it, it’s not surprising. Put yourself in the position of the poor ref. Would you rather run around for the full 90 minutes of a game, without taking the opportunity of standing still and watching telly for a few minutes because you were pretending to not know if a guy was offside or not. It’s the sporting equivalent of taking a fag break at your work.
It’s obviously a much cushier number for the guy who’s acting as Video Assistant Referee than it is for the poor match officials in the stadium who have to face the ire of the home fans when he turns down their team’s penalty claim.
Spare a thought for Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’s physical condition. He’s struggling to keep his waistline in check as it is, while still running the line as an assistant referee. Sitting on his backside for an hour and a half every Saturday is hardly going to help him shed the flab.
It would be impossible to have ignored the news this week that England’s Lionesses have reached the final of the Women’s World Cup. The English media have talked about little else since they beat the hosts Australia in the semi-final.
Even people in Scotland who wish them well tomorrow morning will be wholeheartedly sick by now of hearing the BBC endlessly referencing 1966. That’s when England last won the World Cup, in case you were wondering. Pundits down south have barely mentioned it over the last 57 years.
As someone who was actually alive in 1966, this sets off traumatic memories. That day at Wembley was the worst moment in Scottish history, more tragic than the Highland Clearances. After all. If somebody came to your front door and gave you a choice – either they burn your house down and put you on a boat to Canada or England win the World Cup, what would you choose?
You can always come back from Canada. At least the BBC didn’t film the Highland Clearances and repeat it endlessly for the next half century.
Whatever tomorrow’s result, let’s hope it’s not decided by VAR.