HomeFeatured ArticlesExclusive: Michael Owen Defends VAR - 'Clueless Pundits Don't Help'

Exclusive: Michael Owen Defends VAR – ‘Clueless Pundits Don’t Help’

Unpacking VAR: Insight and Controversy in the Premier League

VAR: A Necessary Evolution or a Misstep in Football?

The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system into football has stirred significant debate among fans, players, and analysts alike. Former Liverpool and Manchester United forward, Michael Owen, recently shared his thoughts with EPL Index, which encapsulate the crux of the ongoing VAR debate. His perspective provides a unique blend of insider knowledge and critical analysis, making it an ideal starting point for a deeper exploration of this technology’s impact on the game.

Michael Owen’s Take on VAR

Owen’s commentary sheds light on a fundamental issue: the reception and perception of VAR. “VAR is here, whether we like it or not,” he states, acknowledging the inevitability of its integration into modern football. His observations suggest that the primary challenge isn’t the technology itself but rather the general attitude towards it. Owen argues, “I hear all of the briefings and I actually think that the biggest problem is people’s attitude towards it.” This point of view prompts a broader discussion on how new rules and technologies are assimilated into sports.

Photo: IMAGO

Owen doesn’t shy away from admitting the system’s flaws but also points to its merits. “Whilst there’s a lot of struggles, there is a lot of things that I do like about VAR,” he concedes, suggesting that the implementation is more nuanced than public discourse often reflects. This duality captures the essence of the VAR dilemma—balancing technological precision with the fluid, passionate nature of football.

Media Influence and Public Opinion

One of the more contentious aspects of VAR’s implementation, according to Owen, is how it is portrayed by the media and received by the public. He criticizes the reaction of some football managers and pundits, claiming, “Managers crying from the rooftops about every decision and pundits that haven’t got a clue doesn’t help. They don’t know the rules and then they call out VAR.” This criticism highlights a gap between the intended use of VAR and its perception and underscores the need for better education on the rules and objectives of VAR among those influencing public opinion.

Owen’s recount of an incident involving Gary O’Neil is particularly telling. “I love Gary O’Neil, but he came out at the weekend claiming it was the worst decision ever, which encourages the fans to turn against it even more. In the end, it turned out to be a perfectly fine decision from the referees!” This scenario illustrates how quick judgments and reactions can fuel misunderstanding and mistrust among fans, potentially undermining the technology’s benefits.

VAR’s Future in Football

The trajectory of VAR’s future largely depends on how these issues are addressed. Owen warns, “This whole thing will explode if people aren’t careful, people will walk.” This statement serves as a cautionary tale for the football governing bodies. The integration of VAR into football is not just about the technology; it’s equally about managing perceptions, improving communications, and educating all stakeholders about its nuances.

In conclusion, while the VAR system continues to polarize opinion, Michael Owen’s insights offer a balanced viewpoint on its role in football. As the system evolves, so too must the approaches of those involved in the sport—whether they are players, managers, coaches, or fans. Embracing this change, while challenging, may be the key to harnessing the full potential of VAR to enhance the fairness and excitement of the game.

Reflections and Resolutions

As we move forward, the football community must come together to address the concerns highlighted by Owen and others. Through constructive dialogue and a willingness to adapt, the path forward can lead to a more informed and accepting environment for VAR and other innovations that aim to improve the beautiful game.

Thanks again to Michael Owen and Gambling Zone for the brilliant insights.

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