Rodgers aimed to 'increase standard of VAR' with comments prior to ban

Rodgers received an immediate one-game punishment – and a further one-match ban was suspended until the end of the season

Brendan Rodgers aimed to ‘increase standard of VAR’ with comments prior to Celtic ban SNS Group

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers claims his main motivation in speaking out over referees was to drive up standards as he prepares to serve the first touchline ban of his career.

Rodgers received an immediate one-game punishment – and a further one-match ban was suspended until the end of the season – after he fell foul of a Scottish Football Association rule which forbids criticism of match officials’ in such a way as to indicate “incompetence”.

The 51-year-old had used that exact term after VAR decisions led to a red card and a penalty against his team in their recent defeat by Hearts.

But, ahead of his Sunday afternoon in the stand at Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena, he insisted he was acting for the greater good.

“It’s something that there was misunderstanding and misinterpretation of my comments after the Hearts game because that’s all I’ve ever looked to do, in both my times up here, to increase the standard, whether that was VAR or the quality of pitches or making games better,” he said.

“That’s always something that has to be driven, I feel.

“Clearly VAR is one of those things we want to see improved. It’s only been here a short period of time, so we want to look to develop and improve it.

“But I’d say that was the same about the standard of the pitches. It’s always something that we hopefully try to create in the league and in football up here. It’s always in the forefront of my mind.”

Rodgers attended the hearing of an SFA-appointed disciplinary panel on Thursday at Hampden.

“I was obviously disappointed to get banned for the first time in my career, but I respect the decision and we will find our way around it,” he said.

“We have been preparing all week for the game and we will finalise that, the players will go in and I will have my seat in the stand and I’m sure we will be able to have communication from there.

“I have always been a coach who has loved to be down on pitch-side with players so if I need to make any quick changes, it’s there.

“But I have also got big trust in my staff here as well. The players will be going into the game knowing exactly what it is they have to do, and we will have that communication with the bench.”

The ruling clears Rodgers to take his place in the Ibrox technical area seven days later.

He said: “It it is what it is, I was disappointed with the one game and the one game suspended but at the SFA it was all done very professionally and I’d give a huge thanks to the club because they gave me unwavering support in defence of the breach.

“We accept it and move on.”

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