Andy Robertson calls for greater VAR consistency or full power returned to refs

By Carl Markham, PA
·4-min read

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson believes VAR is not delivering in terms of consistency and if that does not improve he would prefer to see full responsibility handed back to referees.

The Scotland left-back found himself on the wrong end of a video ruling during Saturday’s draw at Brighton. Official Stuart Attwell went to the pitchside monitor and awarded the penalty from which the Seagulls equalised after slow-motion spotted contact with Danny Welbeck.

Robertson insists he had no issue with that outcome, providing it will be consistently applied in the future, but if not then he says he would rather leave things “up to the referee’s naked eye”.

Inconsistent VAR calls are a cause for concern, according to Andy Robertson
Inconsistent VAR calls are a cause for concern, according to Andy Robertson (Jon Super/PA)

“I think consistency is the best thing. We believed we would be getting that with VAR and we are not getting it right now,” he said ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League match at home to Ajax.

“Hopefully that can come in time because the game is crying out for it. Too many games are passing by where you are either watching on telly or the people in studios are discussing a referee’s decision or what could have been.

“I didn’t think that was possible after VAR but it is now becoming possible. If that is still going to be a discussion and a thing then I would much rather leave it up to the referee’s naked eye.

Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (second left) gave away a penalty against Brighton on Saturday following a VAR intervention
Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (second left) gave away a penalty against Brighton on Saturday following a VAR intervention (Mike Hewitt/PA)

“It is much easier to accept mistakes then than it is when technology is around it.

“When referees make mistakes it was just what they had seen in that moment. We go out on football parks and make mistakes all the time, so they were no different.

“It was easier to accept but now that you have technology and so many cameras, and angles and a second referee who is watching the game from a telly it makes it that bit more difficult.”

Robertson said there were too many incidents now of the laws being applied differently.

“On Saturday, if the rules and the referee deem that as a penalty then I have no problem with it.

“But I was also watching the games yesterday and I saw two very similar instances on Marcus Rashford and Adama Traore that went unpunished and looked very very similar.

“Both of them were not a penalty and mine was. For me, all three have to be a penalty or all three were not penalties.”

An increasing number of players are now voicing their opinions about not understanding the rules or how they are being applied.

After Saturday’s draw Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson expressed his desire to play without VAR and team-mate James Milner took to social media to suggest he was falling out of love with the game.

Robertson believes it is time they were genuinely listened to.

“Maybe it is not the players and the managers who are involved in football now, but I do believe that maybe ex-footballers, ex-managers, ex-referees should be involved in some of the decision-making that is happening now,” said the 26-year-old.

“In the last 18 months to two years there has been a lot of change in the rules in England in particular. I think Kevin De Bruyne said the other week that he wasn’t sure of the rules any more and we can all echo that.

“When VAR came in we believed there would be no grey areas, it would all be black and white and I don’t think we are quite getting that now.

Robertson believes more input from ex-players is needed when it comes to rules amendments and interpretations
Robertson believes more input from ex-players is needed when it comes to rules amendments and interpretations (Molly Darlington/PA)

“I think it is affecting the players but I think it is more affecting the whole game.

“I used to love going to football games and just being in that moment and being able to celebrate a goal or watch the game. I think that is taken out of the game a bit.

“You are waiting two or three minutes sometimes to see if a goal is onside or offside and for me if it is that tight then leave it to whatever decision was made.”