Hayes says 'farce' VAR calls are 'taking enjoyment out of football'

Graeme Shinnie was handed an extra game ban after appealing his red card.

Jonny Hayes says ‘farce’ VAR calls are ‘taking enjoyment out of football’ amid Shinnie fallout SNS Group

Jonny Hayes has hit out at VAR and insisted some of the decisions and the “stop-start” nature of the process is “taking the joy out of football”.

Following on from the decision to award Graham Shinnie an extra game ban for appealing a red-card decision, the veteran winger, who singed a year extension to his Aberdeen contract on Thursday, fears for the “way the game is going”.

He said: “It’s been a bit of a farce if I am being honest. It is frustrating about the way the game is going.

“I am not pointing any fingers at officials, but my opinion about the way VAR is being used is that it is taking the enjoyment out of football. I think we are going way over the top with it, as the game is becoming so stop-start.

“I actually spoke to a couple of the Ross County players after the game who felt that it was stopping any momentum they had, and that’s how I would have felt too.

“I am not enjoying the use of VAR and I know that there are a lot of people who feel the same way.”

The 35-year old former Celtic star also backed the PFA who say that their members have completely “lost faith” with the whole appeals system after the Shinnie decision.

He said: “All I can say is that the PFA speak on behalf of the majority of football players in Scotland.

“The most the down-hearted thing about the red card and Graeme’s appeal was that we knew there was little chance of it being overturned. I have been a part of an appeals process, so I tend towards leaning on what the PFA have had to say.”

Aberdeen host Rangers in Premiership action this weekend as they look to take another step towards securing third place ahead of the league’s split.

Hayes added: “I have always said being there that you try to win every game no matter who it is you are playing against, so the game on Sunday is no different. Having that run of games does give us extra confidence and the team is in a good place going into Sunday.

“It is a big fixture in the Scottish calendar and is one that I enjoy. It is always played at a very good tempo and everyone associated with both clubs know how just how important the game is.”

Manager Barry Robson also expressed his disappointment at Shinnie’s additional suspension and stressed that Aberdeen were an honest club who would never submit a frivolous appeal.

The Dons are in talks with the Scottish Football Association over the situation despite the fact there is no avenue to appeal against the four-match ban he emerged with following a failed wrongful dismissal claim.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s visit of Rangers, Robson said: “As a football club we have always done things the right way. We have always been honest, up-front and forthright about everything we do. We have got some good people here.

“It was frustrating what came back from the SFA so we are disappointed
but we have tried to appeal that, so the club is back speaking to the SFA. I am disappointed but it’s hard for me to comment on it too much at the minute while there is still some stuff ongoing.”

Robson remains convinced Shinnie was unfortunate to be sent off.

“You can all look at Graeme Shinnie as a player,” he said. “He has never, to my knowledge, been really aggressive or tried to hurt anyone in a game of football.

“He was disappointed he was sent off, I was disappointed, and he is not that type of person or player. He is whole-hearted, he wants to win. I am frustrated for myself, for him, for the team.

“We are a good, honest football club and we would never put in an appeal if we never thought we could get it overturned.”

Shinnie now faces missing the bulk of the run-in as Aberdeen bid to seal a European spot and can only return for the final two games of the season.

“Graeme is disappointed but he is all right,” Robson said. “He is a leader, he is back out there on the training pitch trying to get the other players going because he knows it’s a huge game at the weekend – running, working hard, making sure the standards stay the same in training every day, no matter if he is suspended or injured.

“That’s his job – to be on the training pitch and about the building making sure that everything still goes towards the game on Sunday.”

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