Arsene Wenger believes more technology will be added to VAR at the Qatar World Cup 2022 to speed up the process, as the former Arsenal chief admits that the VAR “has not yet been perfected”.
Arsene Wenger who became global director of FIFA in 2019 believes offside calls must be “automated” to streamline the process.
His comments follow Kylian Mbappé”s controversial winner against Spain.
Technology has played a prominent role in the decisions of referees, as VAR and goal-line technology were present throughout the game.
However, the former Arsenal manager claims that VAR is taking too long to make offside decisions, and believes that it is time for football to take the next step forward and “automate” offside calls and reduce the pressure on referees.
The Frenchman says the VAR is too slow to make decisions and insists the process should be streamlined to be more efficient in time for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
“We must continue to progress in the speed of decision-making, particularly in terms of offside,” he said, via Goal.
“In 2022 at the World Cup, we”ll be much better able to make very quick offside decisions. And it will stop the game less because that is what the VAR can be faulted with. There is a real emotional lift, but after that, you have to know if you want fair decisions or not.
“There is a good chance that the offside will be automated at the 2022 World Cup. I am bound to secrecy, but this will be the next of the big developments in refereeing.”
Wenger’s comments come after France beat Spain 2-1 in the Nations League final, with the decisive goal in a controversial game.
Paris Saint-Germain star forward Kylian Mbappé shot on goal after being clearly offside but was allowed after a long VAR control with Eric Garcia’s touch to play it on the side.
Recordings of the incident showed that Mbappé was behind Spain’s last man when the ball was played.
However, officials, including Premier League referee Anthony Taylor, believed that Spanish defender Eric García had deliberately touched the ball. So after that moment, they treated everything as a new phase of the game.
Currently, the rule states that “a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage”.
Mbappé scored after Theo Hernández kicked the ball behind the Spanish defense. However, he was clearly offside before placing the ball under goalkeeper Unai Simon.
After the match, Man of the Match and Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets was infuriated, claiming the decision “didn’t make sense”.
“The referee told us that Eric Garcia wanted to play the ball and that kills the offside… But he wanted to play the ball because the ball would have reached Mbappe who was offside! It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
While Garcia added: “Mbappe is offside. The referee tells me that I tried to play the ball. What should I do? Step aside and let him run? Apparently, that’s the rule.”
VAR has also faced criticism since its implementation in the Premier League but Wenger defended the technology, insisting, although it is not perfect, it has had a positive impact on the game and cut down the number of refereeing errors in big clashes.
VAR has also been criticized since its inception in the Premier League, but Wenger defended the technology, insisting that, while imperfect, it has a positive effect on the game and has reduced the number of referee errors in big matches.
“I think it’s positive in that if it was announced tomorrow, people would be against it. We realised in the decisive matches that the VAR was able to prevent bad decisions from being made,” he said.
“But there are things that still need to be perfected. VAR is a new process. The level of the VAR people may not be at the level of the referees. But it will come in a few years.
“There is an issue because it requires a lot of people and it is still expensive. VAR is a useful aid and it must remain to make more fair decisions. Before there were 93 per cent fair decisions and today it is 97%. So that’s hundreds of decisions over an entire championship. It is important.” Wenger is quoted to have said.