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SOCCER

Thierry Henry: “VAR kills the joy of the game”

The former Arsenal forward has not been impressed by VAR.

Update:
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 25: Thierry Henry, Head Coach of Belgium speaks to media following their sides defeat the UEFA Nations League League A Group 4 match between Netherlands and Belgium at Johan Cruijff ArenA on September 25, 2022 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Oliver Hardt - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
Oliver Hardt - UEFAGetty

Thierry Henry believes the time taken to reach decisions using VAR is killing the “joy” of football.

The World Cup winner says he had no problems with the technology but is frustrated by how football compares to the speed of other sports when making a vital decision.

“In football, we’re still behind, we have so much to learn,” the former Arsenal forward told the Leaders Week sport business conference in London.

“What I can see in American football, in rugby, in cricket or whatever it is, tennis, it’s instant.”

Thierry Henry during the UEFA Nations League match between the Netherlands and Belgium at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on September 25, 2022.
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Thierry Henry during the UEFA Nations League match between the Netherlands and Belgium at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on September 25, 2022.ANPGetty

Killing goal celebrations

The 45-year-old is currently the assistant coach of the Belgian national team.

“With VAR, what I get annoyed with is it’s not quick enough. Then it’s still the decision of someone in a truck or wherever they are, because it’s not VAR that makes the decision, VAR is just there to recall the situation,” he added.

Henry said the uncertainty surrounding VAR was also having an impact on celebrations.

“What we want to see is the game going on,” he said. “Another thing that’s very difficult for me is I used to score goals as a player. Sometimes you don’t even know if you need to jump.

“Am I jumping? Am I celebrating? Am I not celebrating? It kills the beat of the joy of the game.”

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