ISL 2018-19: David James calls for VAR in ISL

Kerala Blasters suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bengaluru FC on home soil as their search for the elusive win continues after the opening day triumph in Kolkata.

Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring for the visiting side but the striker was clearly in an offside position. Kerala Blasters coach David James expressed his surprise that the linesman and the referee didn’t flag it offside in the first place.

“I can’t start blaming individuals for a collective problem. On the back of the Pune game, there was a lot to think about the decisions. I was amazed it wasn’t given as offside.  These things happen. It is becoming increasingly difficult. Four matches out of our six in which decisions haven't gone our way.  

“A team that you know you have to work hard to beat (Bengaluru FC) and you start off with a goal that is offside.  It is not an individual's fault,” said James.

Goal had mentioned earlier as to why the ISL needs VAR in order to ensure that poor refereeing decisions do not end up deciding the outcome of a game.

“VAR might be an answer to the problem. It was a very good game. Two teams desperately trying to beat each other. We played very well for the majority of the game,” he mentioned.

It was in January this year when James had famously mentioned that to expect the refereeing to be of the Premier League standard while the football isn’t is asking too much.

When the former Manchester City goalkeeper was reminded of his thoughts, he stated that the introduction of VAR would only go on to help the referees.

“I hadn't managed much in January.  If you are trying to attract quality players, they want to be playing in quality leagues where quality decisions are taken (refereeing).

“If the standard of refereeing isn't up to the standard of football, VAR in the elite league slows the game down. In the developing countries, it could help the referees,” he reasoned.

Referee Whistle

He came to the defence of his team who have now picked a mere four points from a possible 15.

“I am not at all concerned with the team. We are a contesting a 1-2 defeat against ISL's best team in the league phase last season. It is very difficult when you are preparing for the threat that they have and then something happens that you have no control of. 

“It is very tough to take when in six games, I think four games had contentious decisions. Some help would be good. It is a new league and the standard of football has improved a lot quicker than the standard of refereeing in any league would have improved.

“If VAR is the solution, and it could help the referees take better decisions, then everybody should be after that.”