Search for perfection will destroy football – Scott Parker rails against VAR

Queens Park Rangers v Fulham – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
(Image credit: Tess Derry)

Fulham manager Scott Parker believes VAR and trying to create the “perfect” football game is ultimately going to destroy the sport.

The International Football Association Board, the game’s lawmaking body, announced on Friday that accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goalscoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence from July 1.

That news came less than 24 hours after Fulham found themselves on the wrong end of the controversial section of the law when they were denied a deserved second-half equaliser against Tottenham due to a handball ruling.

Josh Maja fired home for the Cottagers but the goal was ruled out after VAR replays showed that, in the build-up, the ball had cannoned into the hand of Mario Lemina from a Davinson Sanchez clearance when he was a matter of yards away.

Parker, whose relegation-battling side lost that match 1-0, said at his Friday press conference: “I have just heard now that IFAB have decided to change that rule, which is disappointing.

“My stance on VAR is not going to change. We are looking for perfection, and I am not just talking about football but about the world we live in.

“You take a selfie and you put 14 filters on to get the perfect complexion or the perfect coloured eyes and the reality is that there is something more to that and something deeper which is what we all want.

“We are trying to create a sterile, perfect-scenario game which I think ultimately in the end is going to destroy it. The game is about raw emotion.

“When the fans come back into the stadium and they experience first-hand the disappointment that can happen, and how it works. It is going to leave everyone disappointed at times.

“That has always been my main worry and my main issue. From what has gone from just trying to get the real big decisions right has slowly turned into practically every decision in the game, trying to iron out any imperfection we have.

“When you are trying to do that you are going to lose something more important. I am afraid to say for me personally, I feel like we are losing it.”

Fulham travel to Anfield on Sunday to face Liverpool who fell to a record fifth consecutive home defeat and eighth loss of the season on Thursday, going down 1-0 to Chelsea.

Jurgen Klopp’s out-of-sorts champions are down in seventh place in the table, 22 points behind leaders Manchester City, but Parker insisted Fulham have to be wary of their quality.

“It certainly could be (a good time to play the Reds), in the same breath you’re playing a wounded animal and you’re playing against a team that obviously at this moment in time are in a tricky spell and that’s clear to see, but we need to be very very wary of that,” the 40-year-old said.

“When you’re playing against a wounded animal that have the quality and the class that Liverpool possess then you need to tread very very carefully, while also understanding that you approach the game in the right manner and in the right way then you can assert yourself in certain moments of this football match that maybe you have a chance of course.

“I think it’s probably a little bit in between those stalls really, so huge respect for this team we’re playing against but also understanding that where they are and as always trying to put a stamp on this game and trying to get something out of it.”

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