Former Socceroos Archie Thompson and Mark Bosnich exploded post-match after another VAR decision appeared to rob Western Sydney Wanderers of a goal in the Sydney derby.
In an emotional dissection of the key moment, both Fox Sports pundits warned FFA that the intrusion of the video ref was “ruining the game”.
With the score locked at 2-0 in favour of Sydney FC, Roly Bonevacia clawed one back in the 58th minute. Wanderers fans were in raptures until the VAR stepped in and scrubbed it out after an offside Jaushua Sotirio was adjedged to have impeded Michael Zullo in the build up.
Wanderers coach Markus Babbel erupted on sidelines and was flashed a straight red – just the second of his career that included more than 500 senior matches as a defender.
Back in the studios Thompson looked dumbstruck: “What’s ruining our games is this – these decisions. What baffles me is that you’ve actually got the footage on TV, you’re reviewing it, and you’re still making mistakes.
“It took the sting out of what was potentially going to be a great game because Western Sydney were pushing…looked like they were coming back and that goal would have been a turning point.
“And we were sitting in the green room thinking okay this is going to change the complexion of the game, it’s going to make it more exciting and then we hear a whistle and it’s like 'Oh my god, not again! Please, please – almost begging – and it goes to the VAR, stupid decision and it changes the complexion of the game.
“It’s ruined the derby last week, it’s ruined the derby this week, it ruined the Grand Final last season, what are we going to do? Are we going to sit back and watch this?”
“These poor decisions are ruining our game. I don’t even want to watch it because I just don’t know what we’re going to see. We need to make a decision – do we keep it or do we scrap it because for me at the moment I think we need to scrap it.”
Bosnich went further, saying the game was at risk of forcing another fan walkout similar to what “happened three or four seasons ago”.
He urged the players union to intervene and in an impassioned plea called for VAR to be suspended or binned immediately before 95% of the fans stay away and switch off.
“This is not Europe where football is the number one game,” Bosnich said. “We are probably the number four game, equal with rugby union… people have got other choices. “
“It’s got to stop and it’s got to stop now. I’m telling you now this has gone beyond tipping point. You are experimenting with players’ livelihoods.”
Thompson said the disillusionment was there for everyone to see in the face of Wanderers captain Brendan Hamill: “You saw it in the dressing room, you saw it in the reaction of Hamill – it’s affecting even the players.”