Why VAR is going to change everything about football and in a good way
VAR-What is it good for?
Quite a lot, really. When the executive committee of UEFA announced last December in Dublin that they would be introducing VAR from the knockout stages of the Champions League this season, they started a process which culminated in a once-in-a-generation event at the Etihad on Wednesday night.
VAR's intervention to rule out Raheem Sterling's goal in injury time may even have derailed the whole Manchester City project. It is too early to say, but it certainly ruined Pep Guardiola's evening and led to many questions about his approach to the quarter-final against Spurs, particularly his decision to leave Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane on the bench until the last minute of the first leg.
Guardiola has now gone eight years without winning a Champions League and while the wait goes on people will question if he overthinks these games and if his overthinking is debilitating to his teams, unless they have a player like Messi to transcend his plans.
Pep was gracious in defeat, acknowledging he could have no complaints about VAR's intervention to rule out Sterling's goal, but it was the referee's decision for Spurs goal which again highlighted the grey areas with the system.
At a more fundamental way, the decision in injury-time has changed everything. Footballers will usually check to see if the linesman has flagged before beginning a mammoth celebration, but now they may alter their behaviour. Manchester City's ecstasy as they thought they had reached the semi-finals lasted for some time before they realised that, like Columbo, there was one more thing they had to endure. VAR checked and the goal was ruled out.
Football has changed and we have to accept that, but there is added drama and drama that is in pursuit of making the right decision which makes VAR even more worthwhile.
On an emergency The Football Spin, Paddy McKenna and Dion Fanning discuss the night's dramatic events and what it could mean for Manchester City's pursuit of successive Premier League titles.
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