Blackpool boss Neil Critchley critical of officials but opposed to VAR

While Neil Critchley has been a vocal critic of the officiating of Blackpool’s games this season, he doesn’t believe VAR is necessarily the answer.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 8:00 am

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The Seasiders have had a host of decisions go against them in the Championship so far.

Critchley reached boiling point in Blackpool’s last outing as a number of calls went against them during the 1-1 draw against QPR.

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Neil Critchley was angered by the officials in Blackpool's draw with QPR last Saturday

When asked if technology ought to be brought in, Pool’s head coach admitted he has mixed feelings.

He told The Gazette: “I believe the Championship is one of the best watched leagues in the world, so why not?

“It’s the Premier League and it’s the Football League though, so it’s separate. My opinion, and I’ve always said it, I don’t think VAR should be in the game at all.

“I think it’s an elitist decision, because why is it more important for the Premier League than what’s happening in step seven, step eight, people on a Sunday morning? The game is for everyone.

“The spirit of the game is important, and if you’re playing on a Sunday morning for your pub team, you can dream about scoring a goal that you’ve seen someone score on a Saturday.

“VAR changes that and for me, it shouldn’t be in the game full stop.”

The Seasiders had a goal ruled out for offside after six minutes of their televised clash with QPR.

Visiting keeper Seny Dieng also avoided a red card in conceding a penalty, despite bringing down Jordan Gabriel with the goal at his mercy.

While Critchley marched over to the officials at the end of the game to have his say, he admits trying to get answers was a futile endeavour.

“There’s no point. I’d just be wasting my energy,” the head coach added.

“I thought his (referee Joshua Smith) decision-making all night was pretty poor to be honest, but we’re just getting used to it. That’s us, that’s Blackpool, we don’t get anything.

“When I go over to the referees, I normally shake their hand and walk off but I just told him I thought his decision-making was poor all night.

“Then I walked off because you can get yourself in trouble and then I’m the idiot.

“The last thing I want is to get the club into disrepute and pick up a fine, so I’m not going to be that stupid.”

All Blackpool can do is raise the issue with the referees’ body, which is something they’ve already done this season.

“That’s what we do,” Critchley said.

“We speak to them and they come back with all kinds of rubbish, why they defend the referee, why he made this decision and so on.

“In my opinion, that’s why they don’t learn and improve – because they don’t listen.

“Sometimes, if they had a little less ego, then that’s how you improve and that’s how you get better. We get better because we’ve got no ego.”

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