Walker claims VAR interfered to give ref 'easy way out' of decision

The Sky Sports commentator listened in to a conversation between the VAR official and referee at an unnamed Premiership game.

Andy Walker says VAR officials interfered to give ref ‘easy way out’ of decision SNS Group

Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker has claimed he overheard VAR officials interfere with an on-pitch referee to give them an “easy way out” of making a contentious decision.

The former Celtic player, who commentates on Premiership football for the broadcaster, reportedly revealed he listened in to a conversation between the officials and was shocked when he heard one say “the easiest way out of this, is if it’s offside”.

Walker, who also had spells at Motherwell and Ayr United during his playing career, refused to name names or even the game the incident took place.

But he revealed his concerns about the wording used.

STV News understands the SFA are “unhappy” and seeking clarification from Sky Sports over the claims.

The 57-year-old, who has three Scotland caps, said: “Working with Sky I have the option of listening to VAR. To be absolutely clear I hear the video assistant referee – not the referee on the pitch.

“I have a concern. I won’t mention any names and I won’t name the teams involved but there was an instance where a couple of things happened in the space of a second or two.

“And I heard the VAR say ‘the easiest way out of this, is if it’s offside’.

“That to me is really poor language. There should be no idea that we get an easy way out. You have to look at what’s happening on the pitch and apply the laws of the game – don’t look for the easy way out.

“That’s not good enough. It’s awful. I couldn’t believe what I was listening to. I’m not going to mention any names and I’m not going to mention the game.

“But that kind of language makes me feel that the people operating VAR are obviously not feeling the atmosphere because they are not at the ground.”

“Referees now have this safety net ‘it doesn’t matter what I say or do’ someone else will tell me if I’ve got it right or I’ve got it wrong and that example I have given? That can’t be right.”

VAR has come under fire on several occasions since it was introduced to the Scottish Premiership at the end of last year.

Last week, Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes said that he believed referees were leaving key decisions to be made by VAR officials when the system is only meant to be used to correct “clear and obvious errors”.

Specific decisions across a number of games have caused controversy over the last month with several managers speaking out.

On Tuesday Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell accepted there have been “teething problems” for VAR but insists the governing body is working hard to improve the system.

Sky have been approached for a comment.

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