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UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin slams VAR as a "mess" – but says it's here to stay

Aleksander Ceferin UEFA

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, the European football chief admitted he doesn’t rate football’s controversial new technology, but said that it’s here to stay. 

“It is a mess,” confessed Ceferin. “I’m not a fan. I was very sceptical, and I can say that I don’t like the outcome.

“Unfortunately there’s no way back anymore. If we say we don’t use it anymore we are killed. Teams will all complain when there’s a mistake against them.” 

VAR has been the subject of widespread criticism since its introduction to the Premier League for the 2019/20 season. 

Marginal offside decisions have been the focus of particularly intense complaint, and Ceferin confirmed UEFA will be proposing new measures to solve the closest calls. 

“If you have a long nose, you are in an offside position these days,” he said. “Also the lines are drawn by the VARs, so it’s a subjective drawing of objective criteria. 

“Our proposal will be - we will discuss with our referees division - that it is a tolerance of 10-20 centimetres.

“We will propose a change to IFAB.”

Ceferin, appointed UEFA president in 2016, criticised inconsistent use of the technology across Europe’s leagues. 

“Some referees in England, they don’t even check,” he said. “In Italy they check for half an hour. You know, it’s a mess.

“We don’t have many interventions in UEFA competitions because our chief refereeing officer, Roberto Rosetti, said to the VAR ‘it has to be a clear and obvious mistake’.”

Ceferin also bemoaned the effect VAR has had on the wider culture of football. 

He said: “Linesmen don’t even bother to lift the flag anymore. They wait, wait, wait.

“The players? They don’t celebrate. Now they wait first for the VAR. Handball - no one can explain what is handball and what is not. 

“What is intentional? The referee is not a psychiatrist to know if you did it on purpose or not!”

“Referees make mistakes.”


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