Ah, Football, 'the beautiful game'. The thrills and spills ignite us, the passion fuels us and the hard grit and determination makes us who we are.
But when it comes to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), I think of dark cold nights, train delays and international breaks. All of which we try to avoid but they always come back to haunt us.
It's the most controversial footballing topic on the planet at this moment in time. We all have our opinions, some stronger than others. Some love it and some hate it, it's like Marmite, there's no in-between. But above all, do we really need it?
For me, I certainly know what side I'm on. I hate it.
As football fans, we complain constantly about referees. 'They're useless' and 'come on referee, get a grip' and similar things are said by many fans at games. Among thousands of fans each game, there will also be critics of refs who spoil a game by slowing it down. So, why does the Football Association find it appropriate to give referees even more time to decide on the outcome?
This week, the head of UEFA came out publicly to confirm that VAR will be not used in the Champions League next season. He says it causes: (1) "a lot of confusion" and "If we, or I, can do something to make sure that the World Cup is not decided by a referee's mistakes, then I think it's our duty to do it." Doesn't that hamper VAR's chances of making it into every competitive competition? Well, one can only hope so!
VAR is specifically used for goals, penalties, straight red cards, and mistaken identity. All of which are very important calls by any referee already, surely, we shouldn’t need another 'video assistant referee' to make the decision for another referee. (2) Report shows technology has been 98.9% accurate in decision-making. If that's the case, then what's the point in having a referee in the first place?
The way technology is going in today's modern football, we'll end up with a robot as a referee. Ridiculous right? But I wouldn’t put it past the big boys at the top, throwing money left, right and centre at our beautiful game.
Step forward a few months and the World Cup will be in full swing. Step back a few days (17th February) and remind yourselves of the horrors of VAR once again. Fans across the country were left bemused by a remarkably tight decision, when Manchester United midfielder and Spain international Juan Mata was deemed to be 'just' offside against Huddersfield Town which meant the decision could not be changed due to an 'unclear error' which can only be overturned if the decision was 'clear'.
VAR caused outrage across social media, when the lines looked wonky, with some calling it a farce. Personally, I think it looks like it has been drawn on by a three-year-old. Maybe it was. All the money in modern football and they can't even afford a ruler!
It's not just fans who have to deal with this peculiar system, it's lower league football, which should be a number one priority in English Football after the Premier League, so instead of the FA putting all their pennies into a project that isn't necessarily working (and never will!) why don’t they put their time into something worthy. I mean don’t get me wrong, we all love the beauties that the Premier League offers but when it comes to technology, it just ruins it.
The outcome of VAR hangs in the balance. It's new to our game but something tells me this technology craze is only having a damaging effect on the future of the Premier League's reputation. In other countries, VAR has been tried and tested but when I think of technology, I think - can't we just go back to the good old days?
The thrills and spills ignite us, the passion fuels us and 'our' team makes us who we are but when it comes to VAR, I Just hope it doesn’t catch on. But after all, at least we still have our 'beautiful game'.