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Thomas Frank wants VAR in the play offs plus VAR explained in play off situations
Wednesday, 28th Apr 2021 11:52 by Peter Ross & David Cornish

Blaming referee decisions is a pastime for most managers, even Steve Cooper, but you have to agree with Brentford manager Thomas Frank when he says VAR in the Championship play offs is crucial. Don’t you ?

It wouldn’t be hard either. On the surface anyway. Swansea City and Bournemouth have the technology already as ex Premier League clubs, Brentford and Barnsley ? To have their stadiums equipped isn’t a real practical issue, and of course the final is at Wembley, so no problems there. Unfortunately the way Frank goes about his communication in these matters won’t help him. Okay English isn’t his first language but he is at confrontation with himself at times when he talks. It’s all a bit abrasive and non conventional in his portrayal of the situation. The EFL are as bad as the FA, you have to be a bit more diplomatic. However his wish for VAR would most certainly help the match officials for such a big pot of money come the final on May 29th. However, there is of course a stumbling block, and that’s money.

VAR - the basics
Step One – Incident Occurs: When an incident occurs, the referee either informs the VAR or the VAR recommends to the referee that the incident should be reviewed.

Step Two – Review and Advice by the VAR: The video is then studied by the VAR, who notifies the main referee via headset what the footage shows.

Step Three – Decision or Action is Taken: Before making a decision, the referee can review the video footage on the side of the pitch. Alternatively, he can go with the advice of the VAR and take the appropriate action.

Before a VAR system can be used in a live competitive match, the competition organiser must successfully perform technology tests in all competition stadiums where it will be used. FIFA (or a third party appointed by FIFA) must attend at least one of those tests to assess and approve the VAR technology installation before it can be used live. This final assessment and approval should take place at least 14 days before the first use of VAR technology in any live competitive match. The remaining stadiums can be tested closer to the first match in the respective stadium (at the very latest six hours before kick-off).

The installation cost is around two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and match costs rise by around fifty thousand pounds as a result of implementing the system.

The one solution would be just have the system in place for the final ?

However, Debbie Jevans, tennis followers will remember her, she lost to Virginia Wade in 1978 at Wimbledon has responded to VAR in the play off final. As a part of the executive group for the EFL She said “It was discussed in Portugal and it will continue to be discussed. There were varying views but one was if you have not had it up to that point and you suddenly have it, that may change the way that teams play.”

I’m not sure we get that, however.

Thomas Frank has had his say on the matter. And it’s an issue many EFL managers support, most certainly in the play offs.

Frank on last season
“We will be very ready for them when we go into the Play-Offs. If you look at the two Swansea City games last year, especially the first one, we had lost two on the bounce with three days turnaround and we performed away to Swansea. We lost 1-0 because we had a wrongful red card but before that we were the best side on the pitch. That showed the mentality. Then in the final it is all about the margins on the day. The only one where we were nervy was the Stoke City game, the rest were high magnitude games with everything on it but the players were ready for it. We have an experience so that, in the tough moments, hopefully we will have a little bit extra. Will that be enough, we don’t know!”

He could have a point, Henry had his card rescinded and it could well have aided Brentford had there been VAR which Swansea have and had at the time.

Frank on VAR this time around
In the play-off semi-finals and final there needs to be VAR. “I said it last year but I don't know if it was loud enough or if they didn't listen or they don't want to or can't. These key incidents in the penalty boxes, I think it is crucial. I truly believe in these big moments in these games, there is too much at stake to get the decisions wrong just by human error, which can happen. We have had a wrong penalty given this season and if that was the play-off final it would be a killer. It is nothing against the referee, they don't want to take a wrong decision. “We just need to get it right.”

Then of course Frank starts getting confrontational and does himself no favours “When you play a game, or two games, where you’re playing for promotion to the Premier League, and you play for £170million, people need to be really, really sure when they make their decisions," he said. “I don’t understand why there can’t be VAR in these games. I can understand it in the Championship, but I can’t understand it when there’s so much at stake. “They need to nail it”

Well Thomas, they already have, they’ve said - No.

On last seasons Rico Henry red card at Swansea. “From my point of view, it was absolutely not a red card. I spoke to a ref outside of this, he said no red card” Unfortunately for Thomas Frank last season has come and gone, it doesn’t reinforce his point on VAR. Thats the problem, turning a decent idea in to a personal negative. There is little chance of the play offs having VAR this time around due to the costs, bureaucracy, and time it takes to implement. However, as we have said that does leave Wembley as an option.

We here at Swansea Independent think all or the majority of forward thinking managers would welcome VAR, many fans as well, especially for games with so much importance, do you think VAR is a good idea ? As we have said - Thomas Frank has said what many people are thinking, would it work in this seasons play offs ?

Let us know below or on our forums

All photographs licensed by Reuters

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