Giles Smith: VAR – so it was worth the wait!

This part of the website has always been a place where VAR could rely on a strong voice of support against its critics – a place where, even during the inevitable early ‘teething problems’, video review technology could depend on an ally, firmly prepared to defend it as a vital step that could only enhance the game of football in the long run.

That’s except for the columns where I might have described it as an absolute disaster, a passion-killing menace conceived without reference to the pleasure of the paying supporter, the worst two hours anybody spent shopping for knockdown flat-screens in a Currys superstore and a dark stain on humanity that the civilised world would never find it in its heart to forgive.

And that’s except for the column which proposed the formation of a voluntary working-party of supporters to go over to Stockley Park at some convenient time for everybody and help the team there dismantle those screens, return them to their boxes and donate them to needy care homes up and down the country so that we could all move on positively and forget this whole sorry idea ever happened.

But then, after Tuesday night… well, who could deny the beauty of it? Even more, I would suggest, than we could deny the beauty of it last December when it was awarding a last-gasp penalty to Newcastle against Tottenham on the tiniest of technicalities.

Because we need to face cold facts here. And the cold facts are, the naked eye, left to its own devices, would have ruled out Olivier Giroud’s goal against Atletico Madrid – would have unhesitatingly struck it from the record. Indeed, on Tuesday, the naked eye had already done so. The goal would not have stood. And that, we can all agree, in the case of this particular goal, would have been a terrible thing, an act of cultural desecration, like flinging a pot of Dulux at a Vermeer or casually lobbing a brick through a stained glass window.


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