VAR Saga: Jose Mourinho Pity the Future of Football

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Jose Mourinho is not pleased with the decision of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which he believes cost Tottenham Hotspur their match against Sheffield United.

Mourinho’s Tottenham could not find answers to the formidable Sheffield United team and ended up falling 3-1 to the then 10th placed club. The lost has forced Tottenham back to the 9th spot, 9 points away from the top four on the league table and seven points away from the top 6.

The former Real Madrid manager believes that his team lost it mentally when the VAR ruled out Harry Kane‘s equaliser for a handball committed by Lucas Moura in the build-up for the goal. Moura was tackled close to Sheffield United‘s box eighteen and fell under the challenge but his hands touched the ball on his way down before the ball was cleared by the opposing team and landed on Kane who took advantage and scored to make the scoreline 1-1.

The centre referee, Michael Oliver who earlier directed the match to go on after Moura was forced to the ground, blew the whistle for a goal. Before Kane and his teammates could end the celebration, the VAR calls the attention of the referee to the handball, Moura committed while under challenge.

The referee brought the match to a halt until he confirmed that the hand of Moura actually touched the ball before it got to Kane, he cancelled the goal but failed to award a free-kick to Tottenham for the earlier foul on Moura.

Jose Mourinho Says VAR has placed the referee in the office

Jose Mourinho Says VAR has placed the referee in the office
Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho believes that the decision was wrong based on the circumstances surrounding the handball and the centre referee should be allowed to do his job instead of leaving the referee’s job to some people in an office.

He said if technology like VAR is allowed to take over football, implementation of such a trend would destroy the future of football and kill the love people have for the game.

“The referee is in the office”, Mourinho said. “I never complain at the guy with the whistle because it’s not the referee any more.

“I think the referee should always be the man on the pitch and the people in the office should just support and assist. That’s not the way it is. The referee who is not very good on the pitch, we cannot expect that he’s good in the office.

“We’re going in a direction that’s really bad for the beautiful game, the game that everybody fell in love with.”

The Portuguese tactician urged his players not to allow themselves to die mentally because of the decision of the referee. He insisted that when Sheffield United scored the first goal through the boots of Sander Berge, Tottenham’s players were still on fire which led to Kane’s equalising strike in less than two minutes after. But once the goal was cancelled, the team lost it which led to two extra goals in the second half from Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie. Tottenham had to wait until in the last minutes of the game to get a consolation goal through Kane.

“We have to do better, we have to be mentally stronger to cope with what happened during the game”, Mourinho said after the match. “We cannot mentally die after Michael Oliver’s decision.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder Faults VAR

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder Faults VAR
Chris Wilder

Even the manager of Sheffield United, Chris Wilder, stressed that the decision of the VAR was wrong, insisting that there was no deliberate handball in the build-up to Kane’s goal.

But the decision was right according to FIFA law books enacted by IFAB, the law-making body of FIFA. The handball rule of IFAB states that:

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalised if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).” But Chris Wilder described the rule as a farce rule, adding that his team have also been victims of it.

“There is no deliberate handball in there,” he said. “I think it is a bit of a farce rule at the moment. We’ve been the victims of a couple of those decisions. I still don’t think it is the right decision if I am being honest.

“One has gone for us and we will gladly take that but I hope the game isn’t dominated by that decision and is looked at as a decent performance from us.”

Sheffield’s win over Tottenham has taken them to the 7 spot with 47 points in 32 matches. They are currently one point ahead of 9th placed Tottenham Hotspur on the league table.