Celtic great Kenny Dalglish criticises "bizarre" SPFL VAR timeline
Celtic legend Kenny Dalglish has hit out at the SPFL’s VAR timeline as he struggles to understand why it’s being brought in halfway through the season.
The SPFL announced last week that clubs had voted for video technology to be introduced to the Premiership. However, the system won’t be ready until after the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year. This means VAR will officially be in place for the second half of the 2022/23 campaign and no sooner.
SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster stated last week that they were informed VAR simply won’t be ready for the start of next season. Instead, the league body want to implement it “effectively and with confidence” [Sky Sports].
But Dalglish has questioned the decision and how it will affect the integrity of next season’s Premiership. As quoted by the Sunday Post, the Celtic great said: “I’m slightly taken aback that VAR will not be properly up and running until the second half of next season. I know that our officials have been training for this eventuality for a number of weeks in the hope it would be given the green light. So why do we need to wait until December or January to use it? Why can’t everything be ready for when the new season kicks off at the end of July?
“The situation as it stands could lead to potential problems further down the line. It’s far from ideal to be starting a season with one set of rules, and then having another in place midway through the campaign.
“For example, a goal in a game next season – which was clearly offside – could stand. Then when a similar situation arises when the same teams meet later in the season, it could be overruled by VAR, and the goal chalked off. To be honest, I find it bizarre.”
VAR timeline not ideal, but Scotland won’t be the only country to have done it
As Doncaster said in his Sky Sports interview, Scotland won’t be the only nation to integrate VAR gradually. Leagues in Poland and the Czech Republic have also implemented theirs in the middle of a league campaign, so this won’t be totally new.
However, even so, it still feels a touch concerning. After all, Dalglish hits the nail on the head here. You’ll have decisions that VAR would’ve spotted in the first half of the season go unnoticed. That will give certain clubs an edge heading into the second half of the campaign.
Effectively, you’re amending the rules of a competition after half of the games have been played. That’s not the best kind of practice and will almost certainly open up a can of worms.
It’s also a touch bemusing given Scotland has been bracing itself for the introduction of VAR for several years. Why we haven’t gotten ourselves ready to use the system by the end of July is a total mystery. One that clubs are quite right to be asking.
Regardless, this doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. The timeline looks as if it’s here to stay. That means, effectively, we simply need to get on with it.
Hopefully, it doesn’t cause too much controversy in the first half of the campaign. But this is Scottish football after all.