LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 4, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks with fourth official referee Andre Marriner during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp backs controversial idea for managers to force VAR checks

After an uproar when his former club, Dortmund, were denied a penalty at Bochum, Jurgen Klopp has backed a controversial VAR “challenge” idea.

Dortmund are locked in a title fight with Bayern Munich as the Bundesliga campaign nears its climax, but April brought three setbacks.

First was the 4-2 defeat to Bayern, before a 3-3 draw with Stuttgart and then, on Friday, a 1-1 stalemate away to Bochum.

The two sides were poised at 1-1 just after the hour mark when, collecting a cutback from Julian Brandt, Karim Adeyemi was brought down in the box by Danilo Soares.

Adeyemi leaned into the contact, but Soares connected with a nasty slide tackle which got nowhere near the ball – however, Sascha Stegemann waved play on.

Stegemann and the German FA both admitted afterwards that Dortmund were due a penalty, and speaking to Kicker, Klopp insisted he “no longer understood the world” due to the situation.

The Liverpool manager went on to suggest a controversial idea, that would allow managers to force VAR checks, as an “interesting idea for football” – using hockey as an example.

“A challenge would be the solution to avoid something like this in the future,” Klopp said.

“There are so many good examples of how this can work.

“In hockey, for example, the challenge has long since proven its worth.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Referee Anthony Taylor indicates a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is clear that VAR in its current use is hugely flawed, with this evidently not only an issue in the Premier League but also in other top-flight leagues.

Dortmund were denied an opportunity to take the lead from the spot as VAR did not even prompt Stegemann to review the collision, and are now a point behind Bayern with four games left to play.

Whether a “challenge” system would work in football, as Klopp insists it does in hockey, is unclear, particularly as his recent run-in with Paul Tierney highlights the fragile relationship between managers and referees already.

But there is cause to argue that a review system similar to that used in cricket, whereby a captain or batter can dispute an ‘out’ or ‘not out’ decision via the umpire, would be of use.

The Decision Review System limits teams to two unsuccessful reviews per innings in a test match and one per innings during a one-day international.

Still, it is hard to picture it working as smoothly in football, with Klopp or Jordan Henderson, for example, instigating VAR decisions.