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343633 / Blog / Celtic / Football / Hearts / Rangers

Levein insists VAR is the way forward and suggests Old Firm should help fund it

Levein insists VAR is the way forward and suggests Old Firm should help fund it


Hearts manager Craig Levein believes video assistant referees (VAR) are the way forward for Scottish football – and suggested Celtic and Rangers fund their introduction.

Levein’s side have been on the end of two costly decisions in the past week and other incidents have brought the standard of refereeing into sharp focus.

Hearts lost to an offside goal against Rangers last Sunday and were leading 2-1 against St Johnstone in midweek when Andrew Dallas handed the Perth side a bizarre penalty award that they took advantage of to claim a point.

Levein was reluctant to go into Wednesday’s incident after his comments on Bobby Madden made headlines days earlier.

When asked whether he believed these things evened themselves out over the course of a season, Levein said: “The first 120 years they have gone one way and all of a sudden it’s going to change? Aye, that’s right.”

The Scottish Professional Football League has estimated the cost of VAR at £1million per season but Levein hopes the game can find a way.

On the best way of helping referees, Levein said: “I think VAR would help. It’s a lonely place sometimes being a referee, having a lot of responsibility.

“Anything that can make your job easier must be welcomed. It must be. Because I can’t believe for a minute that referees like making mistakes. Nobody does. So VAR would be great.

“I read recently that Ajax gave up their European money to take up the plastic pitches and put down grass pitches for the rest of the clubs in the league. Maybe the Old Firm would give up their European money to put VAR in for everybody.

“Unless we find somebody. Somebody bought Hampden so maybe somebody could put the money in to bring VAR in. It would certainly help referees.

“VAR for me is the answer to the problem. As it is just now you just get one shot at it. It happens in rugby and it seems to be quite popular, there’s less mistakes.

“I think it’s a good idea, it’s just where we are going to find the money for it.”

Levein’s frustration over recent refereeing decisions has been compounded by the fact that Hearts are trying to end a seven-game run without a win. But he is optimistic they can do so against Motherwell at Tynecastle on Saturday.

“We had a cracking match here in the cup earlier on in the season, it was a wonderful game of football,” he said. “And hopefully we can provide the supporters with the same sort of thing again.

“I feel over the last couple of games that there is a bit of a spark back in the team and it would be fantastic for us if we can pick up three points.”

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