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Dundee United boss Thomas Courts impressed with SFA’s plans for use of VAR

By December 3, 2021No Comments

Dundee United boss Thomas Courts revealed he was impressed by the Scottish Football Association’s plans for the use of Video Assisted Referees.

The issue of VAR and its potential benefits came to the fore again following Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi’s winner against Hearts at Parkhead on Thursday night where the technology would have cleared up the possibility of offside in his close-range finish.

Courts revealed he was recently on a webinar presented by Howard Webb, the former Premier League referee who implemented VAR in the United States, to discuss the pros and cons of the system and the Tannadice boss described it as “clear, robust and I can identify with how they want to implement it”.

Ahead of the visit of Celtic to Tannadice on Sunday, Courts said: “I was actually fortunate enough to be on a webinar recently, the only manager on it, I don’t know if it was an open invitation.

“I was quite impressed by the SFA in terms of how they plan to implement it, the parameters in which VAR will be involved and I left with a high degree of confidence that it is really only going to be critical match-defining situations and that it will be a really good acquisition for the league.

“They want to stay away from the minutia and really focus on match-defining situations, offside, goals, whether the ball is across the line, penalty kicks etc, anything that can have an impact on the outcome.

“I left thinking that over the course of the season there would be greater probability that the goals scored were deserved and I think that is all you can expect as a manager.

“We understand the scrutiny and pressure and the time they (referees) have got to make decisions. It is a very difficult job, not one that I would want myself.

“The standard of refereeing in our games has been of a fine standard but they could also be helped by the appropriate VAR.

“I don’t know the cost implications, how far down the leagues etc, it was really just the concept – I left positive about the plans for that.”

Courts believes a perfect example of where VAR would have made a difference for his team this season was in the 1-1 draw against Celtic at Parkhead in September.

A penalty claim when United attacker Nicky Clark was brought down inside the box by Hoops defender Cameron Carter-Vickers was rejected by referee Kevin Clancy, who later apologised to the United boss.

He said: “I actually spoke to the referee in question a couple of games after that and after the game he actually apologised. I see that as a mark of mutual respect.

“I am someone who understands that human error happens. I don’t think there is anything untoward in these decisions.

“However, they are frustrating when they happen so I think that would probably be a good example and the referees would probably be the first to admit that they would welcome additional help to heighten the probability of them making the right decisions.”

United lost 1-0 at Motherwell on Tuesday to leave them with one win in six and Courts is looking to bounce back against Celtic.

He said: “Sunday is a really exciting game for us. It is set up to be a cracker. We go into the game confident, we believe in the players but there is a fair respect for Celtic.”