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VAR and the Proverb of Misfortune

The Yoruba people of Nigeria are a highly religious and superstitious bunch. They are believed to be an oral tradition, possessing dialects that often make you wonder whether it’s the same language being spoken. Try for instance the Ekiti and Egba dialects.

However, the proverbs don’t change. Somewhat somehow, you get the message. A classic example is ‘’Ti t’enikan o ba baje, t’elomi o le da” loosely translated as “If one’s life isn’t destroyed, another’s can’t be good”.

It’s a situation that happens in football. A constant. There will always be winners and losers. Nobody wants to lose in a fair game. When it’s unfair, the decibel levels go up. Enter VAR; it will end all controversies, make the game fairer (The Great War to end all Wars except it hasn’t. Just like Daenerys found out). It’s done the latter even in macro-inches, the former? not so.

Tottenham fans were left cursing their luck after VAR chalked off their now in-existent second goal  against Leicester for what was an half inch offside call (did I say half? quarter an inch!). The moment laid into the above proverb aptly. It proved a turning point; The Foxes would go on to win. Can’t VAR exclude the most marginal of offside calls?

“It changes the atmosphere in the crowd, on the pitch. We are slightly deflated and they get a boost. We deserved to be level at that point.”  -Frank Lampard

Chelsea would feel the same injustice a day later. The Blues getting a goal chalked off for what was another marginal call in a phase of play that could have been adjudged to have passed. Its César Azpilicueta’s goal, yes. By the time the Spaniard turned home the ball, Mount’s marginal offside movement, unseen by the referee seconds earlier was a phase of play past; it begged the question, should the phase of play be considered in VAR calls? It is a topic to be discussed. They are still on it in Italy.

Karim Benzema was equally left befuzzled in Paris. His goal disallowed after Lucas Vazquez allegedly interfered with play. But really, did he?

Gregorz Krychowiak seemingly scored from what looked like a similar situation a day before. Double standards perhaps?

Hawkeye would be jealous. It has proven to be the solution to goal-line clearances. No debates, Only ifs. But as the proverb says (do well to complete it)…

VAR is subjective; it is a reality the fans have to live with. Subjective because the concept is human, it is he/she who controls the technology, it can be tweaked. The decisions are susceptible to inquiry. It is the reason why we will see more controversies. For those referencing Basketball in the VAR debate, Boogie Cousins would tell his tale of Game 5 in the NBA Finals. Even in Rugby, the debate rages on. It’s never ending.

While we vent our frustrations, we must remember, that if one isn’t unfortunate, another one cannot earn his fortune, it seems the balance of life.

(Photo credits: the telegraph)


Author: Tosin Adesina

A football purist.

Tosin Adesina
A football purist.

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