VAR is the enemy of football, says Nottingham Forest fan

It sucks the joy out of the game, is how Bob Holmes describes the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology.

The journalist-cum-author, who has lived in Malaysia since 1995, said if football authorities are not careful, VAR will drive fans away, especially as there is no consistency in the decision-making process.

“In the FA Cup fifth round, Manchester United scored off a free kick even though one of their players started from an offside position. The goal stood, but on Sunday, Liverpool’s goal against Chelsea – from a similar situation – was ruled offside,” said a frustrated Holmes, who believes his beloved Nottingham Forest has been on the wrong end of such decisions in the English Premier League this season.

“We could have been 10 points better off if it was not for VAR. That is the difference between fighting for survival and being in midtable.

“I do not expect every decision to go our way, but I honestly feel VAR is the enemy of football.”

Holmes added that it is ridiculous that officials take five minutes or more to reach a decision, and even then, there’s no guarantee that VAR got it right.

Forest is 17th in the EPL table, one place above the drop zone, with 24 points from 26 games. Luton (20), Burnley (13) and Sheffield United (13) are in the bottom three.

It will not get any easier for Forest as it welcomes title-chasing Liverpool at the City ground tonight (11pm).

In its home fixture last October, Liverpool won 3-0, but the Merseyside club has not won a league game at Forest’s City Ground in the Premier League era, a run of six matches.

In last season’s corresponding fixture, Forest defeated Liverpool 1-0, courtesy of former Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi.

Holmes said Forest’s attack has been the team’s strong point as Awoniyi, Anthony Elanga, and Callum Hudson Odoi are a handful for opposing defenders.

“We have some good attackers, but our defence has made its fair share of mistakes,” said Holmes.

“I expect a tough game and believe the home atmosphere can help Forest.

“We need all the points we can get as we have been charged with breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules and could face a points deduction.”

Elsewhere, Manchester City faces a tough test when it hosts an inconsistent Manchester United tomorrow (11.30pm).

United looked to have regained its form after winning four on the bounce but suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Fulham last week.

City, meanwhile, has won four and drawn one of its last five fixtures and will start as the favourite in the 192nd Manchester derby.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)
SATURDAY
Newcastle vs Wolves (11pm)
Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (11pm)
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool (11pm)
Brentford vs Chelsea (11pm)
Everton vs West Ham (11pm)
Fulham vs Brighton (11pm)

SUNDAY
Luton vs Aston Villa (1.30am)
Burnley vs Bournemouth (9pm)
Manchester City vs Manchester United (11.30pm)

TUESDAY
Sheffield United vs Arsenal (4am)

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