Wales hatch genius plan to get around VAR stoppages in Euro 2024 qualifiers after Premier League stars’ injuries


ROBERT PAGE is ready to put his Wales stars through a warm-up during a Euro 2024 qualifier if there is a lengthy VAR check.

The Dragons boss saw the results of a seven-minute break during Spurs’ 4-1 Premier League defeat by Chelsea last week when Micky van de Ven pulled his hamstring a few minutes later.


Micky van de Ven limped off with a hamstring injury just minutes after a lengthy VAR checkCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
Wales manager Robert Page will leave no stone unturned in Euro 2024 qualifiers


Wales manager Robert Page will leave no stone unturned in Euro 2024 qualifiersCredit: Rex

The PFA fear long VAR checks will lead to more player injuries.

And Wales boss Page is primed if there are delays in crunch Group D clashes against either Armenia in Yerevan on Saturday or Turkey at home next Tuesday.

When asked about conducting a warm-up due to VAR checks and the fear of injuries, Page replied: “We are going to have to take that into consideration with the way VAR is going.”

Tottenham fans suggested the delay may have contributed to Dutchman van de Ven’s injury with players cooling down and then being forced to sprint in quick succession.

VAR has blighted the Premier League and Champions League but last year’s World Cup was also affected.

And Scott McTominay’s goal being ruled out for Scotland in Spain last month sparked fury from team-mate John McGinn.

Ex-Sheffield United defender Page, whose side are two wins away from qualifying for the Euro finals next summer, reckons football is miles behind rugby in its use of technology.

Page, 49, added: “The TMO in rugby is way ahead of where football’s VAR is.


“In the rugby World Cup it was clear, every supporter in the stadium can listen and know the process.

“You could hear every conversation. The referee in the final was under severe pressure but he was confident, assertive and it was done in 30 seconds, not nine minutes. 

“Everyone understood what was happening and the game moved forward.

“No arguments, get on with the game. In football, fans are in the dark so we need to be more transparent.”

Page reckons the Prem has changed its tact since the ‘shambolic’ and ‘amateurish’ VAR cock-up which saw Luis Diaz’s goal for Liverpool at Tottenham in September wrongly ruled out for offside.

He said: “There’s been a definite change in VAR since the Tottenham and Liverpool game with the awful miscommunication. It was shambolic and so amateurish. 

“There are jobs at stake, it’s a multi-billion pound industry so we can’t have VAR incidents like that. 

“VAR should get involved if you need a definitive answer. If it’s a push or not, we don’t need VAR for that, let the referee make that call.

There’s been a definite change in VAR since the Tottenham and Liverpool game with the awful miscommunication. It was shambolic and so amateurish

Rob Page on VAR

“In the Newcastle v Arsenal match, I thought it was a foul but the referee has got to make that decision. Give the referee the power to do that again.

“VAR is there to assist the referee, not the other way round.

“I get (Mikel) Arteta’s frustration because of the effort he and his coaching staff go into to get the analysis right.

“Mikel’s assistant Albert (Stuivenburg) worked here with Wales and I know how intense they are.

“If you want to win games you have to put the work in so to see standards not being met elsewhere is frustrating.

“It’s ironic that it wasn’t unusual in the World Cup last year to see 100-minute games because they wanted the ball in play more for the sake of the supporters.

“But we’re not seeing that now. We are seeing longer games but the ball is in play less.

Page says he can understand Mikel Arteta's frustration with VAR


Page says he can understand Mikel Arteta’s frustration with VARCredit: Getty

“The Tottenham versus Chelsea game had the ball in play for a ridiculous number of minutes compared to how long the match lasted and the reason was for VAR checks. 

“The game is stopping too many times. We want the ball in play a lot more.

“Supporters want to see the play on the pitch, not players stood still or not knowing what VAR are looking at.” 

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