Crystal Palace chief Steve Parish wants VAR ditched

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has slammed the Video Assistant Referee system ahead of Saturday’s decision on whether to use it at this summer’s World Cup.

Parish called the introduction of VAR a ‘dangerous road to go down’ while speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, the rule-making International Football Association Board are expected to give it the green light for Russia 2018 when they meet in Zurich following trials in numerous countries. Here, it has been deployed in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and for England internationals.

Video Assistant Referees are under attack ahead of a possible introduction into league football

Video Assistant Referees are under attack ahead of a possible introduction into league football

Video Assistant Referees are under attack ahead of a possible introduction into league football

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says VAR technology will ruin the spectacle of football

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says VAR technology will ruin the spectacle of football

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says VAR technology will ruin the spectacle of football

However, mixed results have not impressed Parish, who says he will vote against the Premier League bringing in the technology when the clubs make a decision next month.

He said: ‘I am very worried about VAR. I hate all those games that stop and start, waiting for a decision, and they don’t necessarily get the decision right. 

‘We’re going down an incredibly dangerous road with that. My real problem is that we’ve got it for five decisions at the moment, but I can’t see any end to it. You know the answer for everything is going to be more VAR.

‘I don’t see a point of having it for five things when you’re still going to get massive injustices. I remember when rugby introduced Television Match Officials. I just lost interest in it.’

The expectation is that the Premier League will vote in favour, especially with the Bundesliga and La Liga doing so already. But scepticism is growing among Parish’s PL colleagues and he added: ‘Right now I would be a no. But if the rest of world football was a yes, that’s not even close.’

He claims VAR will not rid the game of injustices, such as those felt by Arsenal on Sunday

He claims VAR will not rid the game of injustices, such as those felt by Arsenal on Sunday

He claims VAR will not rid the game of injustices, such as those felt by Arsenal on Sunday

A barrage of contention decisions slowed Tottenham's tie with Rochdale down considerably

A barrage of contention decisions slowed Tottenham's tie with Rochdale down considerably

A barrage of contention decisions slowed Tottenham’s tie with Rochdale down considerably

The ECB may be without a car sponsor after Toyota decided not to renew their backing. But former England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who has switched agents to join Benchmark Sports, has managed to attract blue-chip marque Aston Martin to support his emerging professional cycling team One Pro.

The RFU are reviewing the generous perks given to their privileged members, which include seats in the Royal Box at Twickenham. 

The threatened members believe the Union are doing this in order to give more prime seats to sponsors. 

But the RFU say they are so short of room in the Royal Box and other VIP hospitality areas that it has a become a health and safety issue.

The RFU will review perks of members, which include seats in the Royal Box at Twickenham

The RFU will review perks of members, which include seats in the Royal Box at Twickenham

The RFU will review perks of members, which include seats in the Royal Box at Twickenham

Positive news for all sports governing bodies is that recent financial reforms will allow spending on community sport to be offset against corporation tax. 

So, expect a rash of grassroots initiatives coming out of Lord’s, Wembley, Twickenham and Roehampton.

Rugby chiefs look east

At a time when Italy are not providing any real Six Nations competition, it is relevant that the RFU revealed plans at their last council meeting to fix up games, as well as training opportunities, with Romania and Georgia at Under 20 level, and to help the rugby development of those countries where possible.

England’s senior team also had a scrummaging session with Georgia in the build-up to last Saturday’s defeat by Scotland.

For the future health of the Six Nations, Italy should play off with Georgia and Romania for a place in the tournament sooner rather than later.

With Italy offering little to the Six Nations, the development of other countries will be helped

With Italy offering little to the Six Nations, the development of other countries will be helped

With Italy offering little to the Six Nations, the development of other countries will be helped

Sports strategists Jon Tibbs Association stood down as representatives of the three-way 2026 World Cup bid from the USA, Mexico and Canada following a conflict of interest, with new UEFA communications chief Phil Townsend’s wife Sevi being managing director of JTA. 

Arch-rivals Vero, who are working for Morocco 2026, have revealed they put their contract with UEFA on hold last December when appointed by Morocco, but did not announce it at the time.

Gluten free diet nearly eliminates nerve pain for some

A gluten-free diet could help prevent nerve pain, new research claims.

Researchers found a diet free of a protein found in wheat and some grains can ease the symptoms associated with gluten neuropathy, a nerve condition that causes weakness, numbness and pain, typically in the hands or feet.

Gluten sensitivity is best known for causing abdominal pain, bloating and gas, but for some, the food intolerance can also result in the nerve pain condition.  

Experts from the University of Sheffield said their findings suggests a simple change in diet could nearly eliminate the painful symptoms. 

Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve condition that can cause pain and numbness in the feet and hands 

Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve condition that can cause pain and numbness in the feet and hands 

Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve condition that can cause pain and numbness in the feet and hands 

‘This study is promising because it shows that a gluten-free diet may help lower the risk of pain for people with gluten neuropathy,’ said lead author Dr Panagiotis Zis, of the University of Sheffield.  

Researchers said gluten sensitivity has been associated with peripheral neuropathy — a condition in which the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord become damaged.

A 2015 study published in JAMA Neurology found 32 percent of people with peripheral neuropathy had gluten sensitivity.  

A common cause of this condition is diabetes, but researchers said when a person has nerve pain that can’t otherwise be explained, and has a sensitivity to gluten, the diagnosis might be gluten neuropathy. 

For the study, researchers collected data from 60 people with an average age of 70 who had gluten neuropathy.

They were asked about the intensity of their pain, their other neuropathy symptoms, their mental health and whether they followed a strict gluten-free diet.  

Researchers found that people who were following a gluten-free diet were more likely to not have pain than those who did not adhere to a strict-gluten free diet. 

About 56 percent of those without pain were on a gluten-free diet, compared to 21 percent of those with pain. 

After adjusting for age, sex and mental health status, researchers found that people following the strict diet were 89 percent less likely to have pain with their neuropathy than people not following the diet.

Researchers also found that people with painful gluten neuropathy scored significantly worse on the mental health assessment, which has a range of zero to 100 with 100 being best. 

Those with painful gluten neuropathy had an average score of 76, as opposed to the average score of 87 for those with painless gluten neuropathy. 

This isn’t the first study to link a gluten-free diet to reduced pain.

A 2010 study published in Neurology found that after 15 neuropathy patients went on a gluten-free diet, 11 of them were able to stabilize their condition. 

However, researchers of the current study said that while their research shows an association between a self-reported gluten-free diet and less pain, it does not show that one causes the other.

‘More research is needed to confirm these results and to determine whether the gluten-free diet led to the reduction in pain,’ Dr Zis said.  

How a heavy comforter could treat insomnia and anxiety

The millions of Americans who frequently suffer through sleepless nights could benefit from using a heavy comforter, research suggests.

Weighted blankets that have been used for decades in therapy for children with developmental disorders and to calm anxious animals but in the last year, new companies have begun marketing them to sleepless adults.

The blankets, which provide pressure similar to a parent swaddling their child, have been clinically proven to provide users with a better nights’ sleep. 

Several pieces of research break down how these blankets could help combat a growing sleeplessness epidemic as well as in treatment of psychological disorders from anxiety to autism to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Research suggests weighted blankets like the one made by Gravity, shown above, can improve sleep quality and potentially be used in treatment of psychological disorders like anxiety

Research suggests weighted blankets like the one made by Gravity, shown above, can improve sleep quality and potentially be used in treatment of psychological disorders like anxiety

Research suggests weighted blankets like the one made by Gravity, shown above, can improve sleep quality and potentially be used in treatment of psychological disorders like anxiety

As some 30 percent of Americans get less sleep each night than doctors recommend, many may be on the hunt for new tricks for a more restful night that don’t require powerful and potentially addictive narcotics. 

A 2015 study by Swedish researchers found that a weighted blanket improved sleep quality in insomniacs, evidenced by both objective and subjective measures.

The study explains that weighted blankets providing a ‘cocooning’ feeling that reduced physical arousal, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

From a neurological standpoint, the pressure stimulation, called proprioceptive input, has been shown to reduce cortisol and increase serotonin and melatonin in the brain, which decreases heart rate and blood pressure.

Cortisol is a hormone that is released during stressful situations. High cortisol levels have been linked to insomnia, anxiety and depression.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock. It is commonly called ‘the happy chemical’ as it’s been linked to wellbeing and happiness.

Melatonin is the primary hormone involved in making the body fall asleep and stay asleep. Many Americans take melatonin supplements to treat insomnia.

The sleeplessness epidemic in America

According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), 50 to 70 million people in the US suffer from sleep disorders. 

An ASA survey identified common sleep problems in American adults:

  1. Trouble falling asleep at least one night per week – 70 percent 
  2. Snoring – 48 percent
  3. Unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month – 38 percent 
  4. Short-term insomnia – 30 percent 
  5. Obstructive sleep apnea in men – 24 to 31 percent
  6. Obstructive sleep apnea in women – 9 to 21 percent 
  7. Long-term insomnia – 10 percent 
  8. Nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month – 5 percent  

Objectively, when participants in the Swedish study used the weighted blanket, they had a calmer night’s sleep, with fewer nighttime movements.

Subjectively, participants reported that using the blanket provided them with a more comfortable, better quality, and more secure sleep.

According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), 50 to 70 million people in the US suffer from sleep disorders. 

The most common specific sleep disorder is insomnia, with 30 percent of adults reporting short term issues and 10 percent report chronic insomnia.

Seventy percent of adults report having trouble falling asleep at least one night per week. 

Not getting enough sleep – seven to nine hours for adults as recommended by the ASA – can decrease productivity during the day and lead to long-term health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease.

Additionally, 40 million adults in the US suffer from some form of anxiety which can have similar effects on a person’s health.

A similar study by the University of Massachusetts Amherst published in 2008 tested the effectiveness of a 30lb weighted blanket among 32 participants. 

The data revealed that 63 percent of participants reported lower anxiety after use and 78 percent preferred it as a calming mechanism.

The blanket also lowered electrodermal activity (EDA), the amount of electricity on the skin, by 33 percent. In other studies lower EDA has been linked to higher quality sleep.

Occupational therapist Dr Tina Champagne began using weighted blankets in treatment of adults with mental-health disorders in 1999.

According to Dr Champagne’s website, using a weighted blanket gives patients a way to soothe themselves and stay grounded. 

Among the handful of companies selling the weighted blankets, one called Gravity launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for its model in April of last year.  

The campaign, which ended Tuesday, raised $4,729,263, making it one of the top 20 most successful Kickstarters of all time.

The company claimed that the blankets, which are weighted by small plastic pellets, could treat a variety of psychological ailments from insomnia to anxiety to PTSD.

Shortly after the campaign launched, the brand came under fire from sleep experts who said the evidence to support the medical claims was scant.

Additionally, the language violated Kickstarter’s policy and went against FDA recommendations.

The section in question read: ‘The science behind Gravity reveals that it can be used to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as circumstantial stress and prolonged anxiety.’

The company amended the description to say that the blanket could be used to help relieve the ailments rather than to ‘treat’ them and later deleted the section altogether. 

Drunken abuse on the train shook me up, admits Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has relived how he was abused and accosted by drunken Scotland rugby union fans on Sunday, after his team’s shock defeat in the Calcutta Cup the previous day.

The England head coach left Edinburgh the morning after the match — catching the 9.15am train to Manchester in order to attend Manchester United v Chelsea at Old Trafford as a guest of Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, as revealed in these pages by Sports Agenda, Jones was targeted for physical and verbal harassment — and on Wednesday he spoke about an ordeal which has left him resigned to avoiding public transport in the aftermath of Test matches.

Eddie Jones was abused and accosted by drunken Scotland rugby union fans on Sunday

Eddie Jones was abused and accosted by drunken Scotland rugby union fans on Sunday

Eddie Jones was abused and accosted by drunken Scotland rugby union fans on Sunday

The coach headed from Edinburgh to Manchester to attend Manchester United v Chelsea

The coach headed from Edinburgh to Manchester to attend Manchester United v Chelsea

The coach headed from Edinburgh to Manchester to attend Manchester United v Chelsea

The Australian travelled to Manchester in standard class, and did so again later in the day, on a train back to London. Both journeys became difficult, due to constant attention and requests for pictures.

But trouble flared at Manchester Piccadilly station. Jones was met by a car and driver arranged by United, but he was surrounded by Scotland supporters.

Initially, they asked for pictures, but Jones was then subjected to foul-mouthed abuse.

That was not the end of the matter. As Jones was hustled into the waiting car, onlookers suggest one of the fans who had targeted him opened the door of the car and tried to climb in, before being restrained. 

The abuse took place in the wake of Scotland's Calcutta Cup victory over England on Saturday

The abuse took place in the wake of Scotland's Calcutta Cup victory over England on Saturday

The abuse took place in the wake of Scotland’s Calcutta Cup victory over England on Saturday

Hours later, Jones experienced another uncomfortable journey on the train down to London and the whole experience has left him shaken.

Asked why he had opted to travel alone, so soon after a volatile fixture and as a high-profile figure, he said: ‘I’m a human being. I don’t consider myself any different from anyone else.

‘For me to travel on public transport, I thought was OK. But I’ll make sure I won’t in future. It’s as simple as that. After a loss, no, I wouldn’t do it again.’ It is understood that Jones was alarmed by inflammatory comments made by Gavin Hastings in the run-up to the Calcutta Cup clash, when the legendary former Scotland full-back declared he would ‘love to rub Eddie Jones’s face in the dirt’.

When pressed on why he felt he could no longer travel on public transport at certain, sensitive times, Jones said: ‘Well, I can’t because it was shown on Sunday what happens when I do.

‘That’s the world we live in and also I think it magnifies that if you’re in a position of responsibility, you’ve got to be careful with what you say.

England forward Maro Itoje is put through his paces during a training session on Wednesday

England forward Maro Itoje is put through his paces during a training session on Wednesday

England forward Maro Itoje is put through his paces during a training session on Wednesday

Back-row forward Sam Underhill lifts weight during England's training session in Oxford

Back-row forward Sam Underhill lifts weight during England's training session in Oxford

Back-row forward Sam Underhill lifts weight during England’s training session in Oxford

‘If you talk about hate and rubbing people’s noses in the dirt, it incites certain behaviours and are they the sorts of behaviours we want to see?’

Jones admitted he had been ‘surprised’ by what happened, despite revealing he encountered a similar situation once before in Bath during his time as England head coach.

He is generally prepared to interact with supporters, but in this latest incident he was concerned about his personal wellbeing.

‘I never knock back a request for a selfie unless I’m racing off somewhere,’ he said. ‘So I try to do the right thing by the fans, but if that happens then you’ve got to have a look at your own safety.’

Asked if the abuse had been verbal or physical, he added: ‘A bit of both. It’s part of the challenge. When I came to England, I knew there were going to be challenges. As an Australian coaching England, there were always going to be challenges and that’s just one of them. We march on — we’ve got a game against France.’

'As an Australian coaching England, there were always going to be challenges,' Jones said

'As an Australian coaching England, there were always going to be challenges,' Jones said

‘As an Australian coaching England, there were always going to be challenges,’ Jones said

Jones was able to savour a coaching clinic with Sir Alex Ferguson as United beat Chelsea

Jones was able to savour a coaching clinic with Sir Alex Ferguson as United beat Chelsea

Jones was able to savour a coaching clinic with Sir Alex Ferguson as United beat Chelsea

In the midst of all the abuse and intimidation on Sunday, Jones was able to savour a coaching clinic with Ferguson, the Scot who had such a long and successful reign at United.

After joking about attempts to feed him haggis for lunch, Jones said: ‘He’s been through similar games. We were able to chat about his experiences. There are no shortcuts.

‘We just spoke about coaching. He’s had a lot of different experiences. You want to meet people who know more than you know — and he knows more than I know. So it was a great opportunity to watch a game of football with him, share some time with him after the game and chat about coaching strategies.

‘He mentioned a lot of matches where things went wrong and a lot of the times you don’t have a solution to it and that’s the reality.

‘We all think we’re clever but we’re not so clever because our game is an inexact science.

‘We don’t have robots, we have human beings and on a day things can happen to people and we don’t know why.’

 

Harry Kane reveals his favourite Premier League goal

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has received an award from Cadbury for hitting the milestone of 100 Premier League goals.

Kane achieved that feat by slotting a stoppage-time penalty at Anfield to secure a 2-2 draw against Liverpool at the start of February.

The 24-year-old has gone on to add to that tally since by netting winners against Arsenal and Crystal Palace in 1-0 victories.

Scroll down for video 

Tottenham's Harry Kane was presented with an award for reaching 100 Premier League goals

Tottenham's Harry Kane was presented with an award for reaching 100 Premier League goals

Tottenham’s Harry Kane was presented with an award for reaching 100 Premier League goals

Kane received the award from Cadbury as part of their Premier League Milestone Awards

Kane received the award from Cadbury as part of their Premier League Milestone Awards

Kane received the award from Cadbury as part of their Premier League Milestone Awards

With two more now to his name Kane reflected on all his goals after receiving the award for reaching a ton on Wednesday and revealed his favourite Premier League goal of the bunch.

‘I think my favourite was the one against Arsenal,’ he said, referring to his curling strike in the 2-2 home draw during the 2015-16 season.

‘I cut in off the left-hand side and whipped it into the far corner, post-and-in. An amazing atmosphere at the time and obviously a great goal as well.’

Kane had earlier missed a penalty to give Spurs a late lead  - but this time he kept his cool to send Loris Karius the wrong way

Kane had earlier missed a penalty to give Spurs a late lead  - but this time he kept his cool to send Loris Karius the wrong way

The Tottenham striker reached a century of goals with a late penalty at Liverpool in February

Kane has since scored winners against Arsenal and Crystal Palace to take his tally to 102

Kane has since scored winners against Arsenal and Crystal Palace to take his tally to 102

Kane has since scored winners against Arsenal and Crystal Palace to take his tally to 102

The Journey to a century of Premier League goals began for Kane back in 2014, when he scored against Sunderland on his full debut at White Hart Lane.

Despite his first league goal being nearly four years ago now, the England forward insisted it is something that is still fresh in his mind.

‘It was my first start in the Premier League, I was so excited, Monday night football! It was an amazing feeling to score and obviously it was the start.’

After receiving the award Kane revealed his favourite Premier League goal out of the lot

After receiving the award Kane revealed his favourite Premier League goal out of the lot

After receiving the award Kane revealed his favourite Premier League goal out of the lot

Kane was rewarded with a starting berth at Tottenham for his performances in the back end of the 2013-14 season and hasn’t looked back since.

The striker had an immediate impact and stamped his mark on the Premier League in his first full season before finishing the 2015-16 campaign as the league’s leading scorer on 22 goals, three above second-placed Jamie Vardy.

The Tottenham man went on to improve on that tally to pick up the award again the following year with a haul of 29 goals.

The forward said it was his goal against Arsenal in the 2-2 draw during the 2015-16 season

The forward said it was his goal against Arsenal in the 2-2 draw during the 2015-16 season

The forward said it was his goal against Arsenal in the 2-2 draw during the 2015-16 season

He said: 'I cut in off the left-hand side and whipped it into the far corner. It was a great goal'

He said: 'I cut in off the left-hand side and whipped it into the far corner. It was a great goal'

He said: ‘I cut in off the left-hand side and whipped it into the far corner. It was a great goal’

Now he is on the verge of emulating what only Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry have managed – become the Premier League’s top scorer for a third successive season.

Kane currently sits top of the pile on 24, just one in front of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah with 10 games remaining.

But while he recognises the Golden Boot would be a magnificent award to add to his growing collection of personal accolades, Kane has his feet firmly planted on the floor and is only focusing on winning games for his side.

‘Yeah, hopefully I can do it [but] there is still a long way to go,’ he added. ‘I’m ahead now, so hopefully I can just maintain that.

‘[But] the most important thing is that we keep winning games and hopefully my goals can contribute to that.’ 

The England forward has also picked up the Golden Boot Award for the past two seasons

The England forward has also picked up the Golden Boot Award for the past two seasons

The England forward has also picked up the Golden Boot Award for the past two seasons

He is leading the race to win it for a third successive season but is focusing on winning games

He is leading the race to win it for a third successive season but is focusing on winning games

He is leading the race to win it for a third successive season but is focusing on winning games

Neymar out of Real Madrid game as PSG send him for surgery

  • Neymar will travel to Brazil and have surgery on his broken foot later this week
  • He fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle during PSG’s win over Marseille
  • The 26-year-old will not be able to play in Tuesday’s game against Real Madrid

Robert Summerscales For Mailonline

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar will undergo surgery on his broken foot this week.

The 26-year-old fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle during Sunday’s 3-0 win over Marseille.

Neymar left the field in tears and, after consultation with Brazilian national team bosses, it has now been confirmed that he must go under the knife.

PSG ace Neymar (right) will travel to Brazil and have surgery on his broken foot later this week

PSG ace Neymar (right) will travel to Brazil and have surgery on his broken foot later this week

PSG ace Neymar (right) will travel to Brazil and have surgery on his broken foot later this week

Neymar fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle during Sunday's 3-0 win over Marseille

Neymar fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle during Sunday's 3-0 win over Marseille

Neymar fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle during Sunday’s 3-0 win over Marseille

A statement on the club’s official website on Wednesday read: ‘After an initial treatment period of three days in line with a strict medical protocol, a joint decision has been taken between the medical staffs of both Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team.

‘In accordance with the player, it has been decided that Neymar Jr will undergo surgery in Brazil at the end of this week.

‘He will be operated on by Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar, accompanied by Professor Saillant, representing PSG.’

PSG manager Unai Emery had earlier suggested there was a ‘small chance’ Neymar may be able to feature in next Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid. But that is no longer the case.

PSG, who trail Real 3-1 after the first leg in Madrid, will sorely miss Neymar who has scored 19 and assisted 13 of their 84 Ligue 1 goals this season.

His absence makes PSG even bigger underdogs against Real but they should have no trouble retaining their domestic crown without him as they currently lead Ligue 1 rivals Monaco by 14 points with 11 games to play.

Before going off injured on Saturday, Neymar played a key role in two goals against Marseille

Before going off injured on Saturday, Neymar played a key role in two goals against Marseille

Before going off injured on Saturday, Neymar played a key role in two goals against Marseille


Former Tottenham and Everton player Steven Pienaar retires

  • Midfielder Steven Pienaar has announced his retirement from playing football
  • The former Everton, Tottenham and Sunderland man had been at Bidvest Wits
  • Pienaar said: ‘It’s time to close the book on what has been a great part of my life’
  • He also told Sportsmail that he is keen to return to England in the near future

Simon Jones for MailOnline

Former Everton and Tottenham midfielder Steven Pienaar has announced his retirement from the game.

The 35-year-old, who was capped 61 times by South Africa, had been playing for Bidvest Wits in his home country’s Premier Soccer League.

Speaking to Sportsmail he said: ‘It’s time to close the book on what has been a great part of my life and open up a new chapter.

South African midfielder Steven Pienaar has announced his retirement from playing football

South African midfielder Steven Pienaar has announced his retirement from playing football

South African midfielder Steven Pienaar has announced his retirement from playing football

The 35-year-old will be best remembered by English supporters for his spells with Everton

The 35-year-old will be best remembered by English supporters for his spells with Everton

The 35-year-old will be best remembered by English supporters for his spells with Everton

PIENAAR’S HONOURS 

One Rothman’s Cup — Ajax Cape Town

Two Eredivisies — Ajax Amsterdam

Two KNVB Cups — Ajax Amsterdam 

‘I have some terrific memories, playing for Ajax, Dortmund, making my debut for Everton where I had some special times and of course representing South Africa in the World Cup.’

‘I hope to announce something new at the end of March but I’ll be doing some TV work too in South Africa and abroad.

‘I still get messages from fans in England and I’d like to thank them for their messages of support over the years.

‘They are much appreciated.’

Pienaar also played for Tottenham although his time at White Hart Lane was largely frustrating

Pienaar also played for Tottenham although his time at White Hart Lane was largely frustrating

Pienaar also played for Tottenham although his time at White Hart Lane was largely frustrating

He was last seen by Premier League followers playing for Sunderland before leaving in 2017

He was last seen by Premier League followers playing for Sunderland before leaving in 2017

He was last seen by Premier League followers playing for Sunderland before leaving in 2017

Tottenham 6-1 Rochdale: Llorente nets 12-minute hat-trick

 TOTTENHAM XI: Vorm, Trippier, Foyth, Dier, Rose, Sissoko, Winks (Dembele 61), Lucas Moura (Walker-Peters 82), Lamela, Son (Alli 68), Llorente.

Subs not used: Sanchez, Kane, Gazzaniga, Eriksen.

Goals: Son 28, 65; Llorente 47, 53, 59; Walker-Peters 90+3.

Bookings: Son, Foyth, Lamela.

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino.

ROCHDALE XI: Lillis, Rafferty, McGahey, McNulty, Delaney, Done, Cannon (Adshead 76), Kitching (Thompson 64), Camps, Humphrys (Davies 58), Henderson.

Subs not used: Ntlhe, Rathbone, Inman, Moore.

Goals: Humphrys 31.

Bookings: None.

Manager: Keith Hill.

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).

Attendance: 24 627.

Video Assistant Referee trial is spoiling the show 

  • Tottenham’s win over Rochdale was marred by Video Assistant Referee issues
  • VAR is being trialled in the English cups and is planned for use at the World Cup
  • It is placing fear in the minds of referees and confusing fans inside the stadiums
  • VAR’s use should only be on the actual scoring of goals – it works in other sports

Ian Ladyman for MailOnline

The good news is that VAR is still in its trial stage. As far as the Video Assistant Referee goes, that is where the good news ends.

The system is not working. It is flawed at almost every level. If plans to use it at the World Cup go ahead, we won’t be coming home until August.

A personal view is that football never needed VAR. I always maintained that goal line technology – which has worked flawlessly – was enough. Subjective decisions such as fouls should remain exactly that and, as such, be left in the hands of the match officials.

Referee Paul Tierney waits to hear from the Video Assistant Referee on Wednesday evening

Referee Paul Tierney waits to hear from the Video Assistant Referee on Wednesday evening

Referee Paul Tierney waits to hear from the Video Assistant Referee on Wednesday evening

Tottenham's win over Rochdale in the FA Cup was marred by a series of confusing VAR issues

Tottenham's win over Rochdale in the FA Cup was marred by a series of confusing VAR issues

Tottenham’s win over Rochdale in the FA Cup was marred by a series of confusing VAR issues

However, now that we have VAR, there will be no turning back so we must look at the adjustments that may make it work.

The governing bodies must ask: How can it improve the sport?

Currently, its use on penalties and infringements is having the opposite effect. It is interrupting the flow of the game, placing fear in the minds of referees and confusing the people who really matter, those who have paid to attend the game.

It was always likely that replays would not prove conclusive on issues of contact, for example. Slow motion can change the way things look. Natural contact between two athletes can appear much worse on film.

An example of that at Wembley was the ridiculous decision to rule out Erik Lamela’s early ‘goal’ for a supposed infringement by Fernando Llorente that in the real world would not have been enough to knock a toddler over.

So where do we go from here?

Fernando Llorente was penalised by the VAR for the slightest of tugs inside the penalty area

Fernando Llorente was penalised by the VAR for the slightest of tugs inside the penalty area

Fernando Llorente was penalised by the VAR for the slightest of tugs inside the penalty area

Spurs were originally awarded a free kick when Keiran Trippier was fouled. However, having consulted VAR once more, the referee decided to award a penalty instead

Spurs were originally awarded a free kick when Keiran Trippier was fouled. However, having consulted VAR once more, the referee decided to award a penalty instead

Spurs were originally awarded a free kick when Keiran Trippier was fouled. However, having consulted VAR once more, the referee decided to award a penalty instead

Personally I would restrict VAR’s use to reviewing only the actual scoring of goals. This works well in other sports.

So when a goal is scored, by all means check for offside and any clear – note the use of that word – infringements and then get on with the game.

That system has the potential to improve our sport. The rest we can simply do without.

Malaga 0-1 Sevilla: Correa continues Europa League push

Malaga (4-4-2): Roberto; Rosales, Hernandez, Miquel, Polanco; Success (Youssef 34), Iturra, Meira, Castro; Rolan, Ideye

Subs not used: Rolon, Andres, Bueno, Samu, Lestienne, Torres

Booked: Ideye, Rosales

Sevilla (4-2-3-1): Rico; Layun, Kjaer, Lenglet, Lopes; Pizarro, Banega; Sarabia, Nolito, Correa (Vazquez 63); Ben Yedder

Subs not used: Mesa, Geis, Soria, N’Zonzi, Muriel, Ramírez

Goal: Correa 15

Booked: Layun, Sarabia

Attendance: 15,516