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Gareth Southgate: England boss was 'bored' by stoppages in chaotic Chelsea win at Tottenham
England manager Gareth Southgate said he was “bored” by the number of stoppages in Chelsea’s chaotic 4-1 win against Tottenham on Monday.
The game had nine video assistant referee (VAR) checks, five disallowed goals, two red cards and 21 minutes of stoppage time.
“Well, I was bored watching the game. I was at the game and it just kept stopping,” said Southgate.
“So never mind the players. What about the fans?”
He added: “Now the flip side of that is I think all the decisions were right in the end.
“So if that’s the purpose of the game, then fine, but it’s sucking the enjoyment out of goals.”
Southgate was speaking at the announcement of his squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta on 17 November and North Macedonia three days later.
He has previously criticised the VAR system for the negative impact it has on match-going supporters and is still not a fan of its use.
“We’re looking for perfection in an imperfect world, there will always have to be decision making and interpretation,” he said.
“If you search for problems in a penalty box, if you want to freeze any corner, then you could give free-kicks, penalties either way, easily.
“I wasn’t for [VAR] at the start and I’ve seen nothing to encourage a change of opinion.”
Put the ball and the whistle back in the referee’s hands – Antonio
There have been a number of controversies involving VAR this season, including in Newcastle United’s 1-0 win against Arsenal on 4 November.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said the VAR’s decision to allow Newcastle’s goal was “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”, while the London club later called for “urgent” action on refereeing standards.
However, the Premier League’s Key Match Incidents panel has since ruled that the decision to award the goal was correct.
West Ham striker Michail Antonio, who has previously called for VAR to be “binned”, believes it is “ruining the game”.
“I feel that VAR has made refereeing worse, 10 times worse,” Antonio told The Footballer’s Football Podcast.
“Now they don’t want to make a decision or feel they don’t need to as it will go to VAR anyway.
“Why that is contradicting the game is VAR’s are now trying to stick with their mate. The referee doesn’t make a decision because he wants to go to VAR and the VAR is sticking with his mate.
“I feel there are the same mistakes now as without VAR.”
He added: “If we are going to do this, we may as well get rid of referees and throw artificial intelligence in. Throw a horn on it, a beep in the stadium, let VAR control it.
“Put the ball and the whistle back in the referee’s hands, get rid of VAR and the referees will be confident in their decisions.
“Every time there’s a long pause in the stadium the fans are booing. It’s ruining the game.