An underdog’s story is special. The ability to beat the odds and shock the system is always an intriguing narrative to unravel. However, due to the FA’s incompetency about VAR, Swansea City were unable to experience their own triumphant tale last weekend.
I, for one, am a big advocate of the implementation of VAR. It does not slow the game down significantly, nor is it the end of football as we know it. If bringing in more technology, like VAR, to make the game fairer results in my favoured team losing more often, so be it. I’d rather see my team lose fairly than see my team win by cheating.
Although some people will do whatever it takes to force their own agenda, it is clear to see that VAR is making the game fairer overall – and it has been proven too.
An investigation into the use of the technology realised that it was nearly 6% more accurate in comparison to the judgement made by match officials. In addition, only 55 seconds are lost during a game, on average, when VAR checks take place, which is significantly less than other incidents like free-kicks and substitutions.
If the FA decided to use VAR during Swansea City’s FA Cup quarter-final clash versus Manchester City, I have no doubt the Swans would have earned their fairy tale ending.
On the cards was a true ‘David vs Goliath’ clash. The Championship side versus the record-breaking and defending Premier League champions. One win away from playing at the illustrious Wembley Stadium. The Swans have been rather mediocre, this season, while the Citizens are still on course to finish the season with a quadruple.
Could the Swans accomplish the unthinkable? Well, that’s what almost happened.
While their team included Gabriel Jesus, David Silva, and Aymeric Laporte, the Citizens were surprisingly underwhelming in the fixture. Since the FA decided against using VAR, questionable decisions went their way and guided Manchester City to victory at the Liberty Stadium.
The home side led the game 2-0 for nearly 70 minutes thanks to goals from Matt Grimes and Bersant Celina, but it all came crashing down after that.
The visitors were awarded a dubious penalty after Raheem Sterling was brought down in the area by defender Cameron Carter-Vickers. Sergio Aguero’s spot-kick rebounded off the post and deflected onto goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt to give them their equaliser. Elsewhere, Aguero was offside when he scored the winning goal in the 88th minute.
Following the fixture, many Swansea fans were left frustrated at the decisions made. Surprisingly, these feelings of irritation were reciprocated by City boss, Pep Guardiola.
“I’m sorry it was offside,” said Guardiola in his press conference after the fixture. “I don’t understand why VAR is not used in this competition at this stage. Hopefully, next season this won’t happen.”
Swansea City were robbed and the FA’s behaviour towards VAR is hypocritical. The Liberty Stadium has been equipped with the necessary technology to use VAR for years now, yet for some reason, the FA went against using it.
Ditching VAR from a fixture simply because one of the teams involved comes from the Championship is ridiculous. In order to ensure a fairer game, the FA needs to roll out VAR wherever possible.
If we seriously want to present England as the best footballing nation in the world, then it’s time for more consistency by the FA. Football is evolving.
It’s time for the English game to catch up.