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Mike Petke has every right to be frustrated about VAR


Mike Petke’s latest postgame rant was the boiling point of frustration from not only the Real Salt Lake manager, but the league-wide sentiment about VAR.

Petke didn’t need any props this time around to articulate his point, and it was delivered poignantly.

As we witnessed throughout the World Cup, VAR can do a world of good when it’s applied at its best.

The quick, but thorough, decisions made by the officials in Russia gave us a glimpse into how successful the system can be for the game, but it’s far from there in Major League Soccer.

Since its installment in August, VAR produced a handful of controversial moments throughout MLS due to certain points of emphasis being zoned in on.

However, there’s still plenty of work left to be done when it comes to the decision-making process, as fans, players and coaches are left in the dark when it comes to controversial calls.

Instead of producing some insight in what went through the VAR process, the referees have opted not to answer any questions specifically about reviews when asked by pool reporters.

Only a carefully matriculated question sprinkled with a vague reference to VAR can be answered, and even the decision-making process might not contain clarity.

Petke isn’t the only person in MLS who expressed his frustration with the process, as Nick Rimando and Ashley Cole took to Twitter to support the Real Salt Lake manager.

If two role players tweeted about Petke’s rant, it might not have received the proper attention, but when the all-time saves leader and a former England international who played in the Premier League voice their displeasure with the system, you know the frustration is reaching its boiling point on a league-wide basis.

The solution to the problem at hand is remarkably simple, but complicated in its own right.

All we want from the referees is more transparency, but as we all know with MLS, that can be hard to squeeze out of anyone associated with the league.

Hell, it took years of pushing on social media just to get clubs to be more specific when it came to transfer fees.

The referees union needs to be more lenient when it comes to answering postgame questions because it will lead to more understanding.

More often than not, we’re left questioning why certain rulings were handed out, but instead of inciting rage on social media and from players and coaches, the referees should be more forthcoming with information.

VAR has the potential to be a massive success, and while it won’t be a perfect system, more transparency as to how the decisions are made would be welcomed.

There are some intricacies to work out to get to that point, but if MLS and the referees want to make this system one fans, players and coaches fully respect, the transparency needs to come.

Until then, we’ll be awaiting another epic rant from Petke, or any of the other managers who feel wronged by VAR.


  1. My experience with VAR, and I watch a LOT of MLS and almost every game of the World Cup.
    MLS is better.

    Mentioning transfer fees in an article JUDGING MLS VAR, really shows what you need to know about this article. It seems very biased. You don’t need to agree with me. Many don’t, why not give stats and incidences instead of wasting time talking about transfer fees in a league trying to minimize costs do to lack of funds.

    If you are going to mention NON VAR to prove points, at least go to video review mid week where suspensions and fines are handed up for violations the ref couldn’t see, but caught by video. It is at least related and while it doesn’t pertain to the World Cup, it shows MLS ability to lead, which is has done once again in VAR.

    The World Cup VAR touted itself as centrally located for every game, but different refs did every game, so consistency of same location was zero benefit. The calls in the World Cup were VERY inconsistent. A guy being pushed in the box, being reviewed and called, a mauling, drag down, ignored. Many times. The hand to ball type calls, even more inconsistent.

    • I would be interested to know the amount of time to review calls.

      It seemed to be double a MLS review. Maybe MLS reviews are double during the playoffs.

      I would be interested to know, because to me it seemed inferior AND slower.

  2. VAR has a direct link to the disconnect PRO has in managing games and the inconstancy from one referee to another. A handful of ref really let players affect their in game decisions or take it personal questioned.
    The amount of players being able to play through a player from behind is a joke. In the open field if a play grabs a jersey it is a yellow. The persistent infringement is part of teams defensive gameplay becasue they can get away with it.

  3. Var could be useful but mls is not very interested in that. They just want the newest and shiniest gimmicks available. Football is secondary.


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