During a snow filled night of football between Tottenham Hotspur and Rochdale the focus was once again on the ever-cumbersome VAR.
In the first half the Video Assistant Referee was used three times, twice in controversial circumstances, as Spurs had a goal ruled out for a foul by Fernando Llorente and Son Heung-Min was booked for his stuttering run up Fernando Llorente was deemed to have pulled Rochdale defender.
After the match Spurs defender Danny Rose tore into VAR as well as referee Paul Tierney for the decisions as well as the amount of time it took to make them:
It just overshadowed a good performance by us and a good performance by Rochdale. There's no word to describe the game except frustrating, even though we won 6-1.
It's just complete nonsense if you ask me, waiting around not knowing what's going on. It's ridiculous. Ridiculous. I've had a few messages already saying the VAR is a shambles. It's been the same in every round it's been used. How can you go from a free-flowing football game for 90 minutes to stopping for one or two minutes for a decision? It is what it is and we just have to get on with it.
After an incident had happened, [Tierney] was fully open to us asking why he stopped. He explained his decisions -- some we don't agree with. For instance, the penalty, he said Sonny had stopped just before he kicked the ball but to me it didn't look like it. He stopped a few yards before. It didn't make sense.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was equally critical of the technology calling the use of VAR in the first half embarrassing:
The first half was a little bit embarrassing for everyone. Difficult to keep focus and play football. I am not sure that the system is going to help.
Football is about emotion, it's a context of emotion if we are going to kill emotion in football. I think the fans of people who love football are not so happy about what they see today.
Why 'emotion' and refereeing the game in a fair manner have to be mutually exclusive is beyond me and while the mistakes and amount of time that VAR takes up are legitimate concerns, there seems to be a distinct lack of patience from players, managers and fans to the introduction of the technology.
Last night the debate raged as to whether Son's penalty was a foul or not and after reading several pundits and referees' reactions to the call I'm still not sure if it was the right or wrong decision, and that is more of an indictment of the rules of the game than it is of VAR.
If anything, VAR is shining a light on the ambiguous nature of the rules of football and perhaps that is where the footballing world should be directing it's collective scorn.