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22nd Apr 2024

Joe Cole would ‘get rid of VAR’ after Coventry heartbreak

Callum Boyle

Joe Cole

‘If it was down to me and I was head of FIFA I would just get rid of VAR’

Joe Cole has called for VAR to be scrapped after Coventry City were denied a last-minute winner in extra time of the FA Cup semi final.

The Championship club were denied a famous winner in stoppage time of extra time after coming from 3-0 down to level the game against Manchester United.

Haji Wright’s penalty in the 90th minute took the game to extra time and just as it looked like it was going to penalties, Victor Torp diverted Wright’s cross pass Andre Onana to send the Sky Blue side of Wembley into pandemonium.

Their celebrations were short-lived however as VAR adjudged Wright to be in an offside position in the build up to the goal – with replays showing he was off by a matter of inches.

Coventry ultimately went on to lose the shootout after Callum O’Hare and captain Ben Sheaf both missed their efforts meaning United advanced through to the final, where they will face Manchester City in a repeat of the 2023 final.

‘That decision made my mind up’

Cole, who spent time as a player at Coventry, was one of many frustrated with the decision to see the goal ruled out and exclusively told JOE that he wants to see VAR removed from the game for good.

He said: “I loved my time at Coventry and I was watching the game yesterday and was off my feet when that goal went in.

“You have to remember what Coventry have gone through in the last 20 years and to have that moment, in one of the best FA Cup semi finals in history, and it then taken away from them it was then I made my mind up.

“If it was down to me and I was head of FIFA I would just get rid of VAR.

“Just that moment alone, although he was offside by a fag paper, but for football it’s meant to be a spectacle. It’s emotional, it’s passion.

“I was getting choked up watching it. You just want that to have been the moment for all of those Coventry fans that went there.

“It should’ve been the moment, the one that we all remembered.”

Was it onside after all?

While Coventry fans felt hard done by the close VAR call, one supporter has refused to let the matter drop and has instead shared footage that he believes shows that Wright was onside and the late winner should’ve stood.

In the image, the supporter claims that the lines drawn over the boot of defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, saying: “Genuinely you can see the line go over the boot”.

Many other fans were in agreement and said: “Varchester.”

Another commented: “And then they are surprised clubs are angry at the level of officiating.

“Also goes over the other boot almost in equal measure but yeah, this one should have stood.

“If VAR drew the lines correctly, it wouldn’t have been offside. This United players toe is within the red line, playing the Coventry City player ONSIDE. This blue line is an inch or two too far back. It’s over the top of his foot!” wrote another.

Not everyone was in agreement however.

“Blue line is the toe of the defender attacker is red‚Ķ. Why are people so annoyed, yes it‚Äôs close but he‚Äôs offside, that‚Äôs that,” pointed out one user.

“Yeah, but it’s the red one thats offside, the one not on the boot.”

As of next season, semi-automated technology will be brought in to help ratify any close offside calls.

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