It’s 0-0 between Argentina and England, just minutes into the second half. Diego Maradona — the original petite but prodigious Argentine superstar — picks the ball up on the left before cutting inside. He jinks passed Glenn Hoddle with ease and darts towards the box before slipping a pass to Valdano.

The Madrid man’s touch bobbles the ball into the air and Steve Hodge’s attempt to clear loops it back towards his goal. Peter Shilton comes off his line and by all rights the ball is his to claim, yet his fists find nothing but air. Maradona had got there first and the ball bounces slowly into the net.

The English are incensed. They’re pointing at their hands. The ref holds his ear piece and signals for the VAR. It’s going to be reviewed. Number 10 goes into the book for unsportsmanlike play. The goal doesn’t stand…and football is worse off for it.

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Controversy doesn’t take away from the game, it adds to it. England v Argentina is one of the great feuds in football. In part because of the politics of Las Malvinas but also because of the ‘Hand of God.’ Removing the controversy of Maradona’s great “header” would do nothing but rob us of a legendary moment (and rob Scotland of a hero).

Australian football fans need to learn to deal with a touch of the unfair because the attempt to fix it might just ruin the game. VAR is a farcical mess and none of the “we’re leading the way” comments do anything to change that.

It took three minutes and 44 seconds to confirm a Sydney FC penalty in their match against Perth Glory last week and if anything all it managed to do was piss off both sets of fans. The ball struck the defenders hand not once but twice before the referee pointed to the spot and the process still dragged on.

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On top of that, Glory should have had a penalty of their own. Andy Keogh was pushed in the back in a carbon copy of a later David Carney penalty decision but the VAR and the referee both missed it.

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The A-League has anchored itself to a system that doesn’t actually catch all the indiscretions and on top of that completely destroys the flow of the game. Making the right decision shouldn’t come at the expense of making a good product.

Football has been relatively unchanged for over a century and it’s the game we all love. It didn’t need fixing and especially not in such an ill-conceived way. What sets the game apart is its free-flowing tempo, its heart in the mouth moments and its unbridled ecstasy when the ball hits the net. Fans can’t even celebrate a goal freely without first glancing at the McDonald’s VAR logo to get approval. 

On top of that, the A-League has taken away the chance for fans to play the victim. Yet fans want exactly that: to play the victim or the villain. They want to have something to complain about on Monday morning or — if you’re English — for 31 years.

So get rid of the VAR and give us back our dodgy decisions because at the end of the day it’s good that your team was robbed.

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Football fan, writer, and post-grad journalism student at the University of Technology Sydney. Joined the team in 2017 to cover Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.