Sir Alex Ferguson has pointed out to a recent Leeds United incident as a reason why VAR is not working in football. The Whites saw off Burnley 1-0 at the end of last month, with Patrick Bamford’s fifth-minute penalty giving Marcelo Bielsa’s side a hard-fought win. Yet there was controversy in the game when Ashley Barnes turned the ball home for Burnley after Illan Meslier collided with Ben Mee. Referee Rob Jones blew the whistle for a Leeds free-kick before Barnes scored, meaning VAR could not be used in the decision, despite there being plenty of debate over whether Meslier had actually fouled Mee. Former Man United boss Ferguson said the incident was an example of why VAR’s implementation has not gone well.
Sir Alex Ferguson said “It’s a bloody disaster, I watched the Leeds versus Burnley game the other week — Burnley had a goal disallowed when their own player was fouled by the goalkeeper. Unbelievable.”
Ferguson was mainly speaking about the topic of dementia in football – an issue close to many Leeds fans’ hearts after Jack Charlton’s death last year. It was announced shortly after Charlton’s death that his brother, Bobby, was also suffering from the disease, and Ferguson says more must be done to help former footballers.
Sir Alex Ferguson said “It’s littered right throughout the football spectrum, Jeff Astle, Martin Peters, Ray Wilson. And United have had a serious blow themselves with Nobby Stiles and Bill Foulkes. It’s been very sad. Bobby’s not been well for quite a while. The gates have been opened by Nobby’s passing and Bobby’s diagnosis. They are huge figures. It has to create an awareness. I don’t know what the Professional Footballers’ Association is doing but the League Managers Association is concerned and chief executive Richard Bevan has been fantastic. Those leather balls. When water got into them, it was like heading a cannonball. Really heavy work. I headed the ball a lot but thank God it’s not hit me yet. At the end of the day we have to see what we can do to help. Football has a duty to look at the situation. It’s the right thing to do. People like myself owe it to the game to see if there’s something we can do.”
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