‘It’s about what is football and what is not’ – Ernesto Valverde angered by Barcelona VAR decision

Athletic Club came within a helping hand of a point on Sunday night against Barcelona, but after Inaki Williams’ late equaliser was brought back by VAR, it resulted in a 1-0 loss to Barcelona. The frustration was tangible at San Mames, and Athletic manager Ernesto Valverde was no different.

The Basque players showed their irritation on the pitch, and then again on social media after it. Speaking to Diario AS after the match, Valverde summed up his emotions.

“We are pissed off because we have lost and we have done a lot to try to win it, to try to tie it, and acknowledging the merit of the opponent we are not going through the best time of it. We leave with a bittersweet feeling, we need to win.”

In his mind, VAR was starting to distort the game itself, and the decision to disallow the goal due to Iker Muniain’s handball was not part of the ‘flagrant errors’ that VAR was brought in to avoid.

“It’s not about whether it hits him more or less on the shoulder or arm, it’s more a question of what football is or isn’t. Of course I think that the VAR is to correct flagrant errors, that is why this whole thing came about. If the ball enters the goal or does not enter the goal or clear penalties, but these things…, calling over the referee because it has grazed his hand a bit in a play five previous passes, I don’t know if it belongs to the world of football or not.”

“Today it was our turn, another day it will happen to others, it is a bit absurd that someone does not see a play on the field and someone with a telescope is recording and there is always some irregularity, whether it touches [his hand] a little or not.”

“We are logically angry, we have tangible things at stake, and this result was very important.You always thinks it’s an injustice regardless of whether I hit him in the arm or not, which I have no idea.”

Of course the problem with these statements, and the wording of VAR on the whole, is that nobody can decisively say what a flagrant or obvious error is. The introduction of VAR solely on that basis has opened a proverbial can of worms, and it is tricky to see how exactly football tidies up that mes.

Tags Athletic Club Barcelona Ernesto Valverde


  1. “flagrant errors’ that VAR was brought in to avoid”


    The sooner your realize that VAR was bought in to fix results, the better.

    There hasnt been many arguments for why to keep it around if it doesnt call handballs, such as one in our last game where Vazquez crossed a ball and it hit Mirandas hand in 22nd minute. Funniest part, the reply showed that it touched his hand but VAR haIfwits somehow “missed” it.

    The only conclusion any rational thinking person can reach in light of that event is that they are instructed to sometimes call and sometimes dont.

    Its simply brokELonas turn to win this year and Tebas needs them so dr00Iing brokELona fans can keep paying money to him.

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