Michail Antonio has pulled no punches on his assessment of the standard of officiating in the Premier League since the introduction of VAR.
West Ham, like many others, have been on the receiving end of some incredibly poor decisions in recent months, which has left many wondering where the game is going with VAR seemingly providing more confusion and frustration since it was introduced to the league back in 2019.
This season alone our Hammers have been on the receiving end of some truly baffling calls, most notably against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge when David Moyes’ side were denied a deserved last-minute equaliser from Max Cornet, which was then ruled out for a ‘foul’ by Jarrod Bowen on the Chelsea keeper Mendy, with all quarters of the game stating that it was never a foul.
Michail Antonio has quite rightly questioned and slammed the current standards that are being set by the officials since VAR has been introduced, believing that the technology is now acting as a comfort blanket for referees to fall back on, thus allowing poor decisions to be made during matches.
“I honestly feel VAR’s made the refereeing worse,” stated the Hammers number 9 to the BBC’s The Footballer’s Football Podcast.
“They have something to fall back on. They go, ‘alright, if I get the decision wrong, VAR will get the decision right’. It gives them the comfort of, ‘I can leave it to VAR and if they mess it up, they’re in more trouble than I am because they’re looking at a video, whereas I’m watching it live'”
Antonio also came to the defence of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who was sent off for verbally abusing the linesman in their 1-0 victory over title rivals Manchester City.
“The Liverpool game was a wrestling match,” added Antonio. “The fouls I was seeing on the pitch and the referee was just waving it on, I couldn’t believe it.
“There were so many situations where it should have been fouls, Klopp’s not getting the fouls, loses his mind, shouts at the linesman because it’s right in front of the linesman’s face and then they send him off.
“At the end of the day, if you’re doing your job right, he doesn’t react that way and he doesn’t get sent off. This is a massive game in the season, You can’t mess it up that way.”