Celtic manager Neil Lennon has touched on a meeting he held with both Willie Collum and Crawford Allan regarding VAR.
The Hoops boss will experience the technology for the first time on February 20th when Celtic visit Copenhagen. It will also be in place for the return game at Celtic Park. This is despite the fact that VAR wasn’t used in any of the previous group stage games.
It will also be a landmark occasion for Celtic. It’ll be the first time the club has ever been involved in a match with VAR. Leagues such as the MLS and the Premier League have a VAR system in place, but it’s yet to come to Scotland.
And speaking only two weeks before we take the trip to Denmark, Lennon revealed in the Daily Record that he’s held a meeting with senior referees to get a run-down of the process.
“We had a meeting with Crawford Allan and Willie Collum last week with the situation with VAR going into the Europa League and that was all explained to us. So we are prepared for that and it will be interesting to see how that pans out for the first time using that experience.
“There will be a monitor at the side of the pitch so the referee will go and make a decision from that. You can’t try and influence the referee on anything, you must stay away from that and let the referee interpret what he sees, that’s the rules.
“We have seen it used in the World Cup and the Premier League, obviously the Premier League use it differently, they go to Stockley Park for it, whereas for the UEFA games it will be a monitor at the side of the pitch.”
VAR monitor makes for the most efficient system
At the very least, Celtic won’t be using the same system as is used in the Premier League. The length of time taken over some decisions in that league sucks he atmosphere right out of football at times. This was proven during Spurs vs Manchester City when it took a couple of minutes to come to a conclusion over a penalty decision.
What I’m dreading from this, however, is the prospect of celebrating a goal and it not being given. It’s difficult to imagine the heartbreak of scoring a last-minute winner only to see it taken away from you.
This tie with Copenhagen is a game that can be decided by the slimmest of margins. So it remains to be seen whether we fall victim to it or whether it ends up going in our favour.
Regardless, all it is at the end of the day is additional help for the referee. We all want the game to be as fair as possible, and VAR is a positive step towards that.
The Premier League has done its very best to put you off wanting it. However, with the pitchside monitor available for referees in the Europa League, that should lead to decisions being made much more quickly.
As Lennon says, it’ll be intriguing to see how it all works and how we end up viewing it from the perspective of supporters whose club is actually involved in it. Here’s hoping it all runs smoothly.