Former Celtic man Chris Sutton calls on the SFA and SPFL to scrap VAR completely

By John McGinley

March 31, 2023

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has seen enough of VAR in Scotland and wants the footballing authorities in this country to scrap it completely.

There have been a number of farcical decisions involving all teams in the Scottish top flight since its introduction, attracting the ire of fans, managers, players and pundits. No one seems happy with the situation apart from the Scottish FA – who have overseen its rollout after SPFL member clubs voted it in.

Everyone knew there would be initial problems with the use of the technology but, for many, the problem isn’t with the tech itself – it’s with those using it who are coming away with baffling calls time and again.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Sutton has had it, telling BT Sport tonight: “At this moment in time, Scotland isn’t ready for VAR. It was never ready. I know there were always going to be teething problems. This is much worse. They should can VAR for next season until they are capable of using it properly. It’s been a disaster!”

Scottish clubs invested a seven-figure fee into setting up the technology, which also has annual running costs beyond £1m. While it would be a shame for that initial cost to be written off, some would argue it doesn’t make sense to keep paying for such a flawed system.

Ultimate the root of the problem here is the referees themselves and their interpretation of the rules. Until we have confidence in those making the decisions, bolting on VAR seems pretty counter-productive.

The argument from authorities, and perhaps even clubs themselves, will be that this is the new norm in football that should improve over time. Now the horse has bolted, is it viable to return to the old ways?

I’m not so sure, as much as I agree with Sutton that the whole thing has been rather disastrous. It’ll be interesting to see how the SFA deal with the pressure of public scrutiny.

In other news, The big Celtic trip to Ibrox this weekend that’s gone under the radar.