VAR Killing ‘Joy’ Of Football, Says Arsenal Great Henry

Thierry Henry believes the time taken to reach decisions using VAR is killing the "joy" of football.

In this file photo taken on December 16, 2018 ex-Monaco’s French head coach Thierry Henry reacts during the French L1 football match between Lyon (OL) and Monaco (ASM) at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu near Lyon, central-eastern France. Thierry Henry has been suspended from his role as coach of Monaco with his team second bottom of Ligue 1, the club announced on January 24, 2019. ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP
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In this file photo, former Monaco French coach Thierry Henry reacts on the pitch prior to the French L1 football match between Monaco and Strasbourg on October 20, 2018, at the Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, eastern France. Frederick FLORIN / AFP


Thierry Henry believes the time taken to reach decisions using VAR is killing the “joy” of football.

Henry, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, said Wednesday he had no problems with the technology in principle but was frustrated by the speed of reviews compared to other sports.

The 45-year-old, Arsenal’s record goal-scorer, thinks that VAR is causing fresh controversies and not reducing arguments about refereeing decisions.

“In football we’re still behind, we have so much to learn,” Henry told the Leaders Week sport business conference in London.

“What I can see in American football, in rugby, in cricket or whatever it is, tennis, it’s instant.”

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Henry, now the assistant coach of the Belgium national side, added: “With VAR, what I get annoyed with is it’s not quick enough. Then it’s still the decision of someone in a truck or wherever they are, because it’s not VAR that makes the decision, VAR is just there to recall the situation.”

Henry said the uncertainty surrounding VAR was preventing immediate celebrations.

“What we want to see is the game going on,” he said. “Another thing that’s very difficult for me is I used to score goals as a player. Sometimes (now) you don’t even know if you need to jump.

“Am I jumping? Am I celebrating? Am I not celebrating? It kills the beat of the joy of the game.”