April 16 – Arsene Wenger, the longest-serving manager in the English Premier League, says the decision not to implement video assistant referees next season is a serious retrograde step that flies in the face of progress.
The Arsenal boss was speaking after his club lost 2-1 to Newcastle in a game that saw a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shot hit the hand of a defender.
The 20 top-flight teams voted last week against introducing the system for the league’s 2018-19 season after trials in English cup competitions received mixed reviews.
But football’s lawmakers, who ironically include the English FA, have given VARs the thumbs up, starting with the World Cup, and Wenger warned: “We are behind the rest of the world. Unfortunately the Premier League has again decided not to go for VAR and personally I believe that is a very, very bad decision.”
Some 40 countries are using, trialling or interested in VAR technology, and both Germany and Italy introduced VAR across their top leagues this season.
“The Premier League has been created by people who had a progressive mind and wanted to be in front of the rest in Europe. It worked,” Wenger added, implying this was no longer the case.
“ The young generation is used to (VAR) and worldwide they might move away from us because they see that in other countries they do it. Every big game this season has been decided by mistakes that could have been avoided with VAR, especially in the Champions League with Manchester City and Liverpool.”
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