Chris Sutton unimpressed by what he saw at Leeds United vs Arsenal, slams proceedings on BBC
Chris Sutton believes it was “ridiculous” to delay the game between Leeds United and Arsenal for 40 minutes because of technical problems.
The match at Elland Road on Sunday (16 October) was halted after less than a minute after a power cut interfered with the systems which are used by officials to run the game, as Chris Kavanagh’s communication to his video assistants was gone and goal line technology wasn’t working.
But Sutton thought the episode was a farce and believes there should be guidelines in place which allow for the game to carry on without the technology if both managers agree, despite concerns from Micah Richards about sporting integrity.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club (17 October, 7.50pm) Sutton said: “The fans have to come first in this as far as I’m concerned.
“If both managers agree that they want to just crack on and play, just get on with it, and just accept what’s going to happen. There may be an incident that is viewed further down the line… but if both managers agree on behalf of the teams and the clubs then what’s the issue?
“That was ridiculous what happened.”
Richards suggested that it might not be a “fair competition” if a contested decision arose in that game which didn’t have VAR when others did.
Sutton responded that there may be “issues from other clubs” if Leeds had been awarded a goal incorrectly and stayed up by a point in May, but that there should be regulations in place for if the technology fails to play on without it.
Mountain out of molehill
It was possible to play football before the introduction of technology so it obviously would have been possible to play without it at Elland Road.
Perhaps a 10 minute wait wouldn’t make a huge amount of difference and officials would no doubt prefer to have it if it is possible, but a 40 minute delay immediately after kick off probably throws up as many questions about sporting integrity as playing on, in terms of how it affects the players and the crowd.
Considering the number of contentious decisions that arose in the game it is tempting to suggest that it proved vital to wait, what with a Patrick Bamford disallowed goal, a penalty awarded for handball by William Saliba, and then the red card for Gabriel Magalhães and second penalty for Leeds United which was then overturned.
Not having VAR at some grounds while it is at others occurs in the FA Cup and while it means the games are played under different conditions, considering how baffling some of the decisions the officials make when using it there is no real advantage to one team over another.
Playing different games with different referees in charge is as much of a different set of conditions, as is different weather or crowd conditions, so absolute uniformity is never the case.
Bamford himself is one person who likely wished they played on with no VAR, since it didn’t prevent his goal being ruled out, did intervene for a penalty with which he missed the target entirely, and then intervened again to get his late chance at redemption taken away.
So the confusion at the start ultimately didn’t end up benefiting the home side who have now gone nearly two months without a win, and despite the improved performance, really need points on the board soon.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has warned that the club could be back into a relegation scrap in two weeks’ time.