Gary Neville on VAR: The Best Premier League Refereeing We’ve Seen

Gary Neville has come out in support of VAR after it was used for the first time in the Premier League this weekend. 

Speaking on his podcast, Gary Neville was overwhelmingly positive about the first round of VAR incidents. 

According to the Premier League, about 70 incidents were checked by VAR over the weekend’s games. Only three were overturned.

A Gabriel Jesus goal that would have put City 3 – 0 up against West Ham was disallowed for offside. Then, later in the game, Sergio Ageuro got to retake a penalty after it was shown that goalkeeper Lukas Fabianksi was not standing on the line just before he saved the first penalty.

A Leander Dendoncker goal was disallowed for Wolves after VAR showed a handball in the buildup. None of these incidents have been met with controversy or outcry.

For Gary Neville, more accurate refereeing decisions can only be a good thing for the sport. 


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“My take on it is that every single offside decision in the future of Premier League football is going to be correct,” he said. 

“That’s a great position for us to be in. We’ve seen games over the years swung by offside decisions that were incorrect. Both goals given and goals disallowed that have hurt teams. That will never happen again in Premier League football.

“Also, penalty decisions in and outside the box, again will always be perfect because of the technology.

“There’s been many over the years that have been wrong in those three areas – goal line decisions, penalty decisions, also offsides. 

“You’ve got three areas of the game that are going to be perfect, that’s got to be good for the game. Then we talk about the subjective decisions, they’ll be a lot more accurate. So, for me it’s an advancement.

“I don’t buy into all this saying “Oh, but the game stops”. As a player and as a manager, you just want the right decisions. You can’t feel hard done by if you score and it’s disallowed for offside, because it’s offside. Saying it might have been given a few years ago because the linesman would have got it wrong – that’s not an argument for me. 


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“There are some challenges which I think will emerge as the season goes on. I think the referees will be delighted. 

“You listen to an old player say ‘Oh, they’re not as fit as they used to be’. They’re a lot fitter than they’ve ever been, these footballers. They run a lot harder and a lot faster and a lot quicker and a lot better than we ever did. This is the best refereeing we’ve ever seen in the Premier League. The communication between the referees now to get decisions right and work as a team is outstanding. They’re at a high level. 

“I have to say I’m in support of it. It’s been brilliant for Rugby. It’s been brilliant for cricket. Why won’t it be brilliant for football?”