'Is it making the game better?': Premiership boss has doubts over VAR

Stephen Robinson says the technology has to provide value for money.

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson has questioned the value of the Video Assistant Referee system and whether it is delivering for clubs, players and supporters.

The technology has been in place in Scottish football for over a year now and though the football authorities say that it has ensured a higher percentage of correct decisions, controversy over refereeing calls has remained and fans have become frustrated by long delays while action is reviewed.

The technology was in use on Wednesday during St Mirren’s 2-2 draw at home to Hibernian, with the hosts benefitting from a penalty decision after a VAR review.

Robinson said that he had sympathy for his opposite number over the penalty award but went on to question the process and whether or not clubs were being short-changed.

“If I was Nick Montgomery then I would be very unhappy about the penalty that we got because Richard [Taylor] wasn’t in a position to score,” the St Mirren boss said. “But the rules are that it’s a penalty. Believe me, I would have been going crazy.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is ‘Is VAR making the game better?’.

“Every team in the Premiership is investing money into it when we could be buying players with it. So is it making the game better? Are we doing it half-cooked?

“That ultimately gives you the answer. If we’re making the game better then we push on and we stick with it.

“If we’re not making the game better, which I’ll let you guys decide, and the fans who are the most important people in the game, then certainly everything has to be looked at.

“I was the biggest advocate for it and thought it would help the game. Football’s a spontaneous game that gives great joy to a lot of people. Now that joy is being held back, and that’s me being very conservative with what I say.

“Ultimately the question has to be asked: Is it making football better? Otherwise why are we investing so much money into it?”

Wednesday’s result helped maintain St Mirren’s position in third place in the table but despite the strong start, the manager insists his targets for the season haven’t changed. Robinson has now turned his attention to Saturday’s trip to play Dundee and says he’ll be treating each opponent with the utmost respect.

“My goal, with the size of our football club and the resources we have, is to get enough points to stay in this division,” he said.

“People say ‘Oh, you’re way ahead of that’. No, we’re not.

“We haven’t got the points to say we’re definitely in this division yet. When we do that, we look at what we can achieve above that and we don’t get carried away with ourselves.

“There’s nothing in the league. At times it’s decisions, VAR decisions, refereeing decisions or player decisions, good and bad. It’s fine lines.

“We don’t go in to it thinking “it’s Dundee” and approach it differently from if we were playing Celtic or Rangers.”

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