Burnley boss Sean Dyche looking for parity with VAR decisions

Sean Dyche remains a fan of VAR.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 10:30 pm
Phil Foden is brought down by Alex McCarthy

But the application of the system has had the Clarets boss scratching his head of late.

The Premier League is set to survey all 20 clubs for their thoughts on how to improve the implementation of the video assistant referee, with consistency becoming a real issue with some recent decisions, particularly regarding penalty calls.

Burnley themselves were denied a spot kick against West Brom last month, when Kyle Bartley handled, while Arsenal felt they should have had a penalty after Nicolas Pepe played the ball against Erik Pieters’ hand on Saturday, with proximity the issue on that occasion.

On Wednesday night, Manchester City’s Phil Foden was clearly brought down by Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, but as he tried to stay honest and stay on his feet, he didn’t get the call.

Dyche is one of - maybe the only - outspoken Premier League managers on simulation being rewarded, when players who don’t go to ground aren’t, and he said: “I've spoken about it endlessly over the years, nobody is interested, though I don't know how nobody is interested.

"Maybe the Phil Foden one might spark some interest because of the power of Manchester City, and rightly so, with the level of the market that they're at.

"It's truly bizarre. It amazes me in the modern game that you try to do the right thing and you get nothing, but when you do the wrong thing you get everything! It's a peculiar thing, it seems to be the norm, and everybody seems to accept it.

"There is a small handful of people that don't. I've been speaking about it for a long time, but until the powers that be recognise the truth of what's going on, there's nothing I can do about it.

"It's only positive if they listen and change. It's not positive if they don't change. Getting some sort of feedback is necessary.

"I'm actually a fan of VAR, the streamlining and the way it's used can be affected in a more positive direction, but I'm a fan of the idea.

"All managers just want parity, that's all we want. There's not enough of that at the moment. I've seen penalties given where you touch a shoulder and somehow their legs buckle. All managers are just looking to get a level playing field."

But what would Dyche change about VAR?: "I think the toughest one is, we understand why it's there, the idea of play going on beyond the official giving offside - I don't know how they clear that up, I haven't got the answer.

"But when players are carrying on and on, they're panicking, running back - you can get injuries, you might get collisions and all that.

"Some moments are so clearly offside, could they look at that and get on that quicker?

"It's not the officials' fault, it's the way the rules work.

"That's the obvious one that's been a bug bear for managers and players, but I don't have the answers.

"The other thing is just the parity of decisions through the screen. You're getting such a wide view - one seeing a penalty is a penalty, one seeing it isn't.

"They don't like the word I use, but let's say simulation, what is, what isn't, what is contact, what isn't, how big a contact is it, is it enough to make you go over?

"The Phil Foden one gave the opposite of that of course, when he tries to do the right thing and that is held against him, which is peculiar.

"They are things I think can be looked at and added to.

"It is very forensic, which does make it weirdly tougher, because a referee's instinct is slightly different when they see it forensically through a screen, I think there's some adaptation for that.

"But I think it will improve, it was needed.

"The big decisions that have gone against us down the years could have cost us, you just hope those decisions have a better chance of coming out correctly now.”

Arsene Wenger has suggested players should not be offside if any part of their body that can legally score a goal is level with the second-last defender, but Dyche admitted: "With offside, people are saying could you give the benefit of the doubt, but how far is the benefit of the doubt? Six inches, eight, 10?

"They've got to come out with a line.

"I think they've messed around with it that many times over the years, that I think it was in a better place a number of years ago before it got so detailed.

"But there are always tweaks to the rules, and I'm not sure they always benefit the game.“