The advent of goal line technology was welcomed by many, but particularly the TV companies and pundits that had spent the previous ten years dissecting referee performances and telling us that technology would make everything better. The decision to not allow Frank Lampard’s goal in 2010 did upset many, though the fact that this might have disallowed the third goal in 66 was lost on a large number of those shouting for it.

For something as clear cut as goal line technology – it is either in or it isn’t – this didn’t seem to be particularly controversial. When Liverpool lost to Manchester City by 1 mm and ended up losing the league by one point, there was no belief that technology had robbed anyone. The ball had crossed the line, the right decision had been reached, Manchester City ended up champions. If that was where technology had stayed, I think it would be hailed as an unqualified success. However, here we are with this new shiny VAR … and, well, what to make of it?

Over the past 18 months there have been new sights to enjoy in football. Offside lines drawn onto pitches, in two different colours and attached to random body parts. We have had slow motion action replays of balls hitting anywhere on the arm, from any distance and from any height. The final one is the slow motion replays that keep coming of possible red card incidents or penalties. My concern is whether or not this has actually done what it set out to do, improve the accuracy of decisions or make football fairer.

The Premier League originally took a rather relaxed attitude to VAR. When the Players Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) group laid out their rules for VAR use it was made clear it would not be to re-referee games and an obvious error would need to clear a very high bar to be overturned. However, PGMOL has now ignored its own rules. What is clear and obvious? When Andy Townsend sat in his Tactics Truck to discuss the elements of a game with a player, we didn’t think that this would be how referees would now make decisions.

What we have seen is that the technology is not the problem. It is the people who are operating it and the decisions that they make. The game moves too fast and is dissected too much for technology not to play some part, but should it really be used to show that Patrick Bamford’s outstretched arm is offside? And if it is going to do that, then surely a wholesale review is needed of the laws of the game.

Controversial decisions are part of the game and are, in their very nature, subjective decisions, but, game after game now, the big decisions are being made by VAR not the referee. The incident that saw Villa hold on against Sheffield United was a freak incident. These can happen with technology, but these failures have been very rare.

We have benefited from VAR on a number of occasions, most notably this season with the Spurs penalty, but we have also suffered from it. Emile Smith Rowe’s red card being overturned against Arsenal went on to have a significant impact. But the problem is the number of times across a weekend where the topic of conversation has become VAR. People used to point out refereeing decisions and say that was why we needed the technology to help them, but, if the technology is handled by the same people as normal, then it is actually the quality of the decision makers that needs to improve, both in person and on video.

When used correctly VAR does seem to be working. Penalties that would previously have been missed are being picked up. I watched some of Burnley v Man Utd the other day. Cavani was bursting through on goal and Robbie Brady looked like he was potentially going to be sent off. But they then went back 20 seconds earlier, and it was a free-kick to Burnley and a potential red card to Luke Shaw. If Cavani gets in and scores, the goal gets ruled out; if he shoots wide neither incident is reviewed. That inconsistency of use will kill the game.

All of this is designed not for the people who watch the game in person (admittedly, currently zero) but for the TV channels and the “top 6” who apparently have so much to lose from these decisions. Just imagine Isaac Hayden’s last minute winner versus Chelsea, then the VAR coming back to say that earlier in the move someone had been 0.3mm offside so it can’t stand. Imagine when we get back not being able to celebrate a goal until a scoreboard that half the ground can’t see says it is one. Football is a game of emotions and, whilst we want the correct decisions, if the same human errors are made by virtual referees as the one at the ground, why not just leave it with them.

STEPHEN ORD @smord84