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SOCCER

Ricardo La Volpe calls for two referees and no VAR

Former Mexico boss La Volpe is not a fan of VAR, and has proposed introducing an extra match referee to replace the video assistant.

Roddy Cons
Update:
Former Mexico boss La Volpe is not a fan of VAR, and has proposed introducing an extra match referee to replace the video assistant.
David LeahMEXSPORT

It’s fair to say that not everyone is a fan of VAR and, in particular, the way it’s being used in different countries across the globe. There has, for instance, been lots of recent controversy in Liga MX in Mexico, with some high-profile incidents provoking criticism of how officials have been deploying it, forcing officials chief Armando Archundia to publicly defend his referees.

La Volpe sceptical of VAR

Former Mexico head coach Ricardo La Volpe, considered one of the great thinkers and tacticians of the game, has now added his name to the list of sceptics, talking about his dislike of the technology and the issues with its usage in a fascinating discussion with Equipo F on ESPN, in which he also shared revolutionary ideas on how he would improve soccer.

One thing is clear in the Argentinian’s mind - the increased importance of physicality has completely changed the face of the sport.

Two referees better than VAR for La Volpe

When asked if he would get rid of VAR, La Volpe responded, “I don’t like VAR. Since football is so much faster these days and referees can’t keep up with play, wouldn’t it be better to have two referees? That would’ve been better, in my opinion.”

For the former Tri boss, the way VAR is used to officiate is too black and white and does not take into account the intricacies of the on-pitch action. “After a player kicks the ball, their leg stays unintentionally extended. But I could kick the ball, kick an opponent with my follow-through and get sent off for it. They look at a replay in slow motion or even just a photo. That’s not how soccer works.”

Soccer needs to be 10 v 10

La Volpe also explained how he thinks soccer should change for the better, with a novel suggestion which, should it ever be employed, would completely shake up the sport.

“We still play 11 v 11 and the dimensions of the field are still the same. But what’s been the biggest change? The players’ physical attributes.”

“It’s more difficult to see technically gifted players nowadays because they don’t have the time or the space in which to play at their best. In the past, we had number 10s like Maradona, Potente, Riquelme, Insúa, D’Alessandro, Aimar and lots more. But now, there’s no time to receive the ball, turn and play.

Diega Maradona playing for FC Sevilla in the 1992/93 season.
Full screen
Diega Maradona playing for FC Sevilla in the 1992/93 season.Christian Liewig - CorbisDiarioAS

So, what’s La Volpe’s solution?

“If we want to go back to seeing the high quality football that we used to see, we have to play 10 v 10.”

VAR-less 10-a-side soccer could be on its way to you soon, courtesy of Ricardo La Volpe.

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