RICK JACKSON: The beautiful game can only be improved by VAR – it’s just what the Premier League needs

Thierry Henry in the infamous Hand of God II moment in the World Cup qualifier between France and the Republic of Ireland

Football is slowly getting with it now the video assistant referee system (VAR) is being introduced into top-flight games.

For years the powers-that-be, all the way up to FIFA, have resisted the use of replays to help the referee on the pitch make the right decision on things like penalties, goals that may have been offside, or aggressive play.

With top quality sound systems now installed at these fantastic stadiums, tension music could also be played to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats, or am I making this a bit too American Football?

The argument has always been – from FIFA down – that the game should be played with the same rules as that of grassroots and youth football.

How can this possibly be the case when top-flight players earn millions of pounds, turn up in Ferraris and play the game on perfect carpets of grass?

When an incorrect decision could relegate a club, losing it millions in the process, the stakes are so high that the authorities owe it all involved to make sure the right decisions are made.

Remember Thierry Henry’s Hand of God II goal for France against the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifier a few years back?

The technology existed then, and everyone at home saw it was a handball.

In fact, the only people who didn’t were the officials on the pitch at the time. It was embarrassing to the game and all involved that that goal was allowed.

It’s been really interesting watching the use of VAR so far. Yes, it’s slowed the game down somewhat, which has played into the hands of an opposing team wishing to stifle momentum.

But for me it has worked.

What the Premier League needs to do now is take a leaf out of all the other sports that have embraced video technology and use it to enhance the game.

They should get the crowd involved, with screens poised to show the opinion of the video referee.

It’s so exciting at cricket when you wait for the fourth umpire’s decision.

With top-quality sound systems now installed at these fantastic stadiums, tension music could be played to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats, or am I making this a bit too American Football?

Hell no, bring on the dancing girls!


IKEA really isn’t the place for couples to spend time together, is it?

This week we went to pick up a flatpack cabinet we’d paid for online and to buy another, plus pick up some stuff we didn’t need.

Every five minutes my wife stopped to show me some tat that would’ve looked awful in our house.

I loaded the car and 25 minutes later Sarah joined me with double the amount I left her with.

Difficulty loading the car, unable to find the receipt for free parking, and being an hour late picking up our son from nursery, meant one argument and several cold shoulders.

My next job is putting all the bloomin’ stuff together.

Row two is on the way...


My shipping anorak was zipped right up as Wightlink’s new car ferry Victoria of Wight was launched this week.

She’s an impressive-looking vessel, with more of a cross-channel ferry profile.

With lots of passenger space, she’s going to be a delight to travel on.

In the past 10 years, Wightlink’s owners have built six new ships and spent nigh-on £80m but still passengers moan about their services.

Lower fares and more off-peak services are what they want, but I’m wondering if even a nationalised ferry service would be able to offer that?

With a bridge or tunnel costing in excess of £1bn to build, I wonder what the fare on it would have to be to cover the costs?

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