Former Roma manager Jose Mourinho has taken aim at European football’s use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), praising the contrasting approach at the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Ivory Coast.
In a surprising statement, Mourinho confessed, “I’ve watched AFCON more than European football. They’re teaching us to be honest. VAR is used precisely how it should be.”
He commended the lack of bias, stating, “They don’t use it to help big money teams or famous teams. This is why you saw the best out of every team, because they know VAR isn’t rigged but fair.” Mourinho highlighted the open communication between referees and players, praising their willingness to review decisions.
Comparing this to European football, Mourinho criticized the lack of transparency and communication. “In Europe, pleading with a ref for VAR is a red card,” he said, advocating for a change. “The headquarters for VAR needs to be in CAF,” he suggested, emphasizing the continent’s positive implementation.
Whether Mourinho’s claims hold merit remains to be seen, but his statements have undoubtedly injected fresh fuel into the ongoing debate about VAR’s role and implementation in football. As the AFCON final between Ivory Coast and Nigeria unfolds tonight – with Nigeria currently leading in the 2nd half , all eyes will be on how VAR influences the outcome, adding another layer to the Mourinho-inspired controversy.