VAR could curb bad challenges – but football’s technology quandary would deepen | Paul MacInnes

After Joe Bennett’s challenge on Leroy Sané it is natural to wonder whether VAR should be extended to include tackles, but the consequences could be confusing and complex

Joe Bennett’s challenge on Leroy Sané has left the winger injured for up to a month. It was late and it was deliberate, an attempt to stop the Germany international from giving Manchester City a three-goal lead before half-time in their FA Cup tie with Cardiff. It is the sort of tackle that looks worse the more you see it and would always have provoked a debate. On this occasion, however, it has provoked more than one.

The first was started by Pep Guardiola, who used his post-match remarks to make a philosophical point. Players such as those on his team, the Manchester City manager said, were “artists” who needed “protection” in order to play the style of football so many viewers enjoy. Cardiff’s Neil Warnock, meanwhile, insisted such challenges were part of the game. He was more concerned with a second tackle from Bennett that got the player sent off. In Warnock’s opinion it was the latter challenge that was unprofessional, as it incurred a suspension and was therefore “disrespectful” to Bennett’s team-mates.

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