Disregard VAR, its perceived injustices, Mikel Arteta’s discomfort, the arrogant statements from clubs that should know better, Anthony Taylor, seemingly interminable games, overzealous radio pundits, questionable offside decisions, and the intricacies of the handball rule. In the Premier League, the best team will win, and the worst will finish at the bottom, end of story. Don’t lend any credibility to the idea that VAR jeopardizes the game’s integrity.
What genuinely undermines the credibility of the Premier League is players attempting to deceive officials, managers condoning these actions, and clubs like Arsenal supporting their manager’s self-righteous declarations.
The next time the 20 chief executives or owners convene in an opulent London hotel to discuss their next multi-billion-dollar TV deal, they should contemplate their managers’ and players’ behavior.
They should collectively agree to encourage these individuals to meet the officials halfway and recognize that officials strive to ensure the sport’s fairness in their own way. Ange Postecoglou’s words are worth listening to. He acknowledged that over a quarter-century, he has experienced decisions in his favor and against him, as the age-old adage that these things balance themselves out is, in fact, accurate. Kudos to Ange for recognizing that.
Yet the prospects of convincing players and fellow managers to accept the inevitable variability of refereeing decisions are probably quite slim. Postecoglou’s comment about the “constant erosion of the referee’s authority” was the most salient point of his post-match press conference on Monday.