Ignore VAR and its claimed unfairness, Mikel Arteta’s discomfort, arrogant remarks from clubs who should know better, Anthony Taylor, seemingly endless games, aggressive radio pundits, dubious offside calls, and the complexities of the handball regulation. The best team in the Premier League will win, while the poorest club will finish last. Don’t give credence to the notion that VAR jeopardizes the integrity of the game.
What actually affects the Premier League’s legitimacy are players seeking to deceive referees, managers tolerating such activities, and clubs such as Arsenal backing their manager’s self-righteous remarks.
The next time the 20 CEOs or owners gather in an elegant London hotel to negotiate their next multibillion-dollar TV agreement, they should consider their managers’ and players’ perspectives.
They should agree to urge these folks to meet the officials halfway and acknowledge that authorities seek to guarantee the fairness of the sport in their own unique way. The remarks of Ange Postecoglou are worth hearing. He admitted that during the last quarter-century, he has had rulings both in his favor and against him, proving that the age-old adage that these things balance themselves out is correct. Ange deserves credit for noticing this.
However, the chances of convincing players and fellow managers to accept the inevitability of refereeing judgments are likely to be modest. Postecoglou’s remark on the “constant erosion of the referee’s authority” was the most memorable part of his post-game news conference on Monday.