Rangers: Giovanni van Bronckhorst calls for VAR and full-time match officials in Scottish football

Given the likely impact on the complexion of the Premiership title race this week had VAR been in play, it’s perhaps no surprise that Giovanni van Bronckhorst is an enthusiastic proponent of bringing the technology into Scottish football.

Hibs defender Ryan Porteous (left) reacts after a penalty was awarded to Rangers for his challenge on Ryan Kent at Easter Road on Wednesday night.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Hibs defender Ryan Porteous (left) reacts after a penalty was awarded to Rangers for his challenge on Ryan Kent at Easter Road on Wednesday night. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The four-point lead van Bronckhorst’s Rangers side have over Celtic at the top of the table might have been stretched to six if Kyogo Furuhashi’s winning goal from an offside position for the Parkhead club against Hearts on Thursday night had been scrutinised by a video assistant referee.

There was also controversy at Easter Road the previous night when Rangers secured their own 1-0 win over Hibs from a Kemar Roofe penalty kick awarded for Ryan Porteous’ challenge on Ryan Kent. Referee John Beaton’s decision sparked protests and debate but the TV angle which clearly showed Porteous making contact on Kent would certainly have seen it backed up by VAR.

Regardless of whether it works for or against his team, however, Rangers manager van Bronckhorst wants to see VAR implemented in Scotland as soon as possible.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is a supporter of moves to introduce VAR into Scottish football. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

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After gaining the support of all 12 top flight clubs at a meeting hosted by the Scottish FA in October, a decision is expected in February whether to give the go-ahead to introducing VAR next year.

“Yeah, I’m for VAR,” said van Bronckhorst. “Because you have situations in games when it is very difficult for the ref to see and to make decisions.

“So VAR is there to help the ref, which is very important. I’m from Holland and I think VAR came from Holland. It’s fair to have VAR for both sides, really, so I’m really for VAR next season.”

In addition to being responsible for the development of VAR, van Bronckhorst’s homeland has also established a reputation for producing some of the world’s best referees.

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The Euro 2020 final earlier this year was handled by Dutch ref Bjorn Kuipers, while Danny Makkelie - who took charge of van Bronckhorst’s first game as Rangers manager against Sparta Prague last week – handled the semi-final between England and Denmark.

The prospects of Scottish referees receiving high profile appointments in European football would clearly be improved if they were working alongside VAR in domestic matches.

Van Bronckhorst also feels the standard of refereeing in Scotland could be enhanced by allowing match officials to become full-time.

“The last time I played here was 2001, that was my last game,” he said. “I knew the refs then. Of course, now coming in after a couple of games (as manager), I know the officials in Scotland aren’t full-time.

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“If you are a full-time referee – it doesn't matter what job you have – you can fully concentrate on your job.

“I think sometimes maybe it is not easy for refs because they have their normal jobs and then have to officiate games.

“So in an ideal world, of course. I think if you speak to the refs as well, they will be much better if they can have the full-time jobs because they can do what they love. For me, it is always better to have full-time officials.”

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