John Hartson makes Celtic and Rangers ‘loyalties’ VAR point as Bobby Madden uproar prompts request for English refs


There is no point in introducing VAR if the same Scottish referees are behind it.

That’s the view of Celtic legend John Hartson after the historic ballot to introduce the tech in the Premiership.

Hartson insists impartial referees from south of the border should be drafted in after 41 out of 42 Scottish senior clubs voted in favor of the introduction of VAR in Scottish football’s top flight.

The technology will be rolled out following the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

VAR was first introduced to the wider footballing public with the 2018 World Cup in Russia before its expansion to domestic leagues across the globe – including England’s Premier League in 2019 – with hopes the technology could eradicate ‘clear and obvious errors’.

John Hartson spoke to his fellow pundits on Go Radio, explaining that he feels VAR will not provide fairer decisions if operated by the referees who currently take charge of Scottish games.

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The discussion comes after Bobby Madden’s refereeing performance during Sunday’s Old Firm Scottish Cup clash.

Both sides of the Glasgow divide were left baffled by some of the big calls at Hampden as Rangers defeated their Glasgow rivals to secure their place in the Scottish Cup Final.

Speaking on Go Radio’s Football Show, Hartson said: “VAR has to come in because it will help the referees.

“As long as we get the right people sitting behind the VAR. Maybe people that come up from London, who have not got any allegiances to any football clubs in Scotland.

“Because otherwise your’e going to have the same problems. You’re going to get decisions and people will be making all sorts of things up – ‘who does this guy support, where do his loyalties lie?’

“It will go on and on, it will run. But I have to say Bobby Madden’s performance at the weekend was dreadful.

“The referee – how many occasions should he have booked a player? Not just for Celtic but for Rangers.

“He let so many go there could have been a couple of sending offs. He almost chose to ignore it.”

Hartson’s comments did not go unnoticed by listeners.

One Rangers fan called in, describing the Welshman’s words as “pathetic.”

He responded by saying: “What I said was Bobby Madden’s performance had no bearing on Rangers winning the game.

“Rangers were the better team. All I said was, there was several occasions in the game where I felt Rangers players got off far too easily on occasions where they should have been booked.

“It was also said Bobby Madden’s performance was woeful, both on TV and in the commentary.



Debate surrounds Bobby Madden’s performance in the Scottish Cup semi

“There’s all sorts of debates every single Monday morning over decisions, what difference is VAR going to make?”

The ex-Hoops man went on to explain his opinion, making his stance pretty clear: “Every person will have allegiance to a club, and ultimately referees are the same.

“It should be people coming up from England, totally neutral who haven’t got allegiances to any club, I feel that they are the ones who should be behind VAR, otherwise you are going to have the same problems.”




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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