VAR is back in the headlines… and not for a good reason.
Mainz’s relegation ‘six-pointer’ with Freiburg in the Bundesliga was engulfed in controversy after referee Guido Winkmann awarded a penalty during half-time – meaning the players were hastily summoned back onto the pitch in a truly bizarre spectacle.
[STORY: VAR awards penalty after players leave the pitch at half-time in Germany]
BT Sport commentator Jonathan Pearce repeatedly gushed that he had never seen anything like it, while Stuart Robson alongside him wasn’t even convinced it was a penalty.
After much dilly-dallying waiting for Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow to emerge from the dressing room, Pablo de Blasis converted the spot-kick (for what we presume is the first goal scored during half-time not involving mascots or competition winners).
The debacle left supporters in a conundrum. Not only can they not celebrate a goal – for fear of it being ruled out minutes later – but now they can’t even go for a half-time brew through fear of missing some action.
Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler led the disgruntled brigade:
Obviously VAR has good intentions, but is it really helpful in an opinion-based sport? This is basically all of us right now…
Fact: it’s going to ruin the World Cup more than vuvuzelas.
And if we can have penalties at half-time, when’s the cut-off point? England’s World Cup win is under threat…
But hang on… isn’t this what we wanted?!