In general, most players, managers, and pundits have been cautiously optimistic about the move towards the use of Video Assistant Referee, or VAR, as a tool that can help to remove officiating mistakes from the game.
There have been concerns with implementation—with the new handball rule in particular causing some grumbling—but on the whole, most see it as good and necessary. However, Mohamed Salah isn’t among them.
“More penalties for me,” was his answer when asked about what VAR will mean by CNN this week—and yet despite that, he says he isn’t a fan. “I don’t like it. That’s my answer, always. I don’t like it. I love football how it is.
“It’s like that with the mistakes of the referee, the aggression from the players sometimes. It’s okay sometimes to protect the players from dangerous play. But okay, that’s it, in my opinion, just to protect the players.”
Currently, VAR can review potential red card offences in addition to offsides and penalty area handballs—and so far, it hasn’t played a major role in Liverpool’s young season or earned Salah any extra penalties.
It’s a long season, though, and probably only a matter of time until it does. And it has impacted title rivals Manchester City, who saw what would have been a late winner against Tottenham ruled out because of it.
“For me,” Salah added, “I accept football with the mistakes of the referee, mistakes of the player, I don’t know, whatever. That’s how the football is more exciting.”