'Handball and offside rules are nonsense' - Neville slams regulations and says fans 'hate' VAR

Ollie Watkins Aston Villa West Ham Gary Neville
Monday saw the latest instalment of the debate around VAR as Ollie Watkins saw a late equaliser ruled out for Aston Villa against West Ham

Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville says the current offside and handball rules in the Premier League are “nonsense”, and he increasingly feels most fans hate VAR.

The seemingly never-ending debate around VAR in England added another new chapter on Monday night as Ollie Watkins saw a stoppage-time equaliser ruled out as Aston Villa were beaten 2-1 at West Ham.

Watkins side-footed home from Jack Grealish’s cross but, after a lengthy VAR stoppage, the goal was disallowed. Watkins’ arm was adjudged to be fractionally offside as he jostled with defender Angelo Ogbonna.

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Analysing the decision on Sky Sports after the match, Neville said his view was that the current rules on offside and handball are the biggest problem, rather than the VAR system itself – but he is aware fans are growing tired of the video refereeing system.

"Lines on screens are not the problem. What's happened is that the referee's credibility has been threatened and now they're even doubting themselves,” Neville said.

“The referee going over to the screen is not a problem. The referee going over to the screen and not sticking with the decision if it's right is the problem. It's the application of the technology that's the big problem, or the rule itself.

“The handball rule is a nonsense. The offside rule about the arm is a nonsense. Those two rules need changing. At that point, VAR would become more acceptable.

“The problem at the moment is that they (referees) look like they've been briefed, they look like they've been programmed like robots. They need to relax and chill out and go over to the screen and say 'I'm comfortable with my decision.' They're not. They're briefed like mad. They're programmed to the nth degree. They're frightened to death.

“Their authority has been taken away and the biggest problem is that the fans hate this thing. They've got to change it."

West Ham eventually prevailed through goals from Ogbonna and Jarrod Bowen, either side of a consolation from Grealish.

David Moyes' side rose to fifth in the Premier League table, while Villa remain firmly mid-table in 10th.