VAR-free football thanks to the Europa League

Thursday night is Europa League night, evenings packed with games from every corner of Europe. The competition generally includes a wide range of aspirational clubs from lesser European footballing nations through to more established sides who would have hoped to have their Tuesday and Wednesday evenings taken up with Champions League football with the likes of Milan, Celtic, Feyenoord, Red Star, Napoli and Arsenal falling into this latter category.

SOCCER-EUROPA-MIL-LIL/REPORTSoccer Football - Europa League - Group H - AC Milan v Lille - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 5, 2020 The football boots of AC Milan's Sandro Tonali are seen as he places the ball for a corner kick REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

Goals are goals in the UEL

Last night was not the first time I watched back-to-back games or zapped around a number of grounds with games being played simultaneously seeing how teams reacted to goals being scored with other sides desperate to claw themselves back into a number of the matches. And all of this action unfolding....without VAR. I know that there is no going back where VAR is concerned and it's an initiative we'll have to live with. I wake up every day in the hope that we get the news that a vaccine has been approved to fight coronavirus but am fully aware that VAR is here to stay. This is one of the main reasons I look forward to watching Europa League games on a Thursday night. Goals are goals and those that are ruled out, remain so. Teams wear their traditional colours too at home. Milan wear red and black, Celtic their famous hoops and Arsenal are in red and white.

Europa League - Group H - AC Milan v LilleSoccer Football - Europa League - Group H - AC Milan v Lille - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 5, 2020 AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

Old school football

In an age where football is trying to grow up too fast, where VAR now interrupts the flow of any game over the weekend, where we now have the likes of David Elleray and IFAB trying to conjure up new regulations, where the likes of Agnelli, Florentino Perez and the recently departed Barcelona president Bartomeu are doing their best to line their pockets with a Super League,  Thursday night Europa League games are something of a refuge. It's a reminder of how football used to be so not long ago. Granted, the likes of Messi, Cristiano, Mbappé or Neymar are not on show and it lacks the overall standard of the Champions League, but this competition still retains certain aspects of the game that we miss and that will soon disappear.