Former Reds manager Steve Evans believes using ‘Video Assistant Referees’ could be a good thing for the game. Evans is well known for his clashes with officials down the years.
So he was a highly interested spectator as ‘VAR’ was given an experimental debut for Monday night’s FA Cup clash between Brighton and Crystal Palace.
Evans, who now manages Crawley Town’s League 2 rivals Mansfield Town, said: “In terms of fairness and fair play in the sporting world, everyone wants the big decisions to be right; I am the first person to moan about a throw-in on the halfway line if it goes against us.
“But, in reality, we just want the match officials to have all the help they can get just to get the big decisions right as referees do the hardest job in football. If it helps them I’m all for it.”
However, the big talking point of the game ended up being whether Brighton sub Glenn Murray had handled as he put the Seagulls’ winner into the net in the 2-1 victory over their bitter rivals.
“I noticed at the time the referee never called for the other ‘referee’ locked away at FA headquarters to give him assistance on the winning goal,” said Evans.
“When I watched the pre-match build-up on the television they told us the four key match incidents when the ‘other ref’ could get involved with the match referee and it seemed quite fair to me.
“It wasn’t going to be stopped for a free-kick on the halfway line or a yellow card on the edge of the box.
“I listened to Mike Riley – a Rotherham United supporter who I think is a fantastic man – and he explained it. He was right in what he said that technology now is taking the game to a different level.
“We will be a long time away from that unless we have back-to-back promotions, though.
“On the days it works for you, you will smile. On the days it doesn’t work for you, you will still believe you were right and you’ll be making excuses, but the press will say ‘it’s quite clear it’s not a goal’.”