‘If he wants’ - Mike Dean silences Arsenal legend Paul Merson after explosive VAR argument live on air

Mike Dean had no trouble dealing with Paul Merson’s explosive rant during an on-air VAR debate.

Paul Merson has lost his cool on Sky Sports News during a VAR debate with former referee Mike Dean.

Sky Sports News held a studio debate featuring a number of pundits and former referee and VAR referee Dean on Saturday, with the panel aiming to cut through the weeds of the current VAR debate. Many have called for VAR to be scrapped amid a seies of errors over recent times, including that huge error during Tottenham’s win over Liverpool last weekend.

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VAR reviewed a Liverpool goal during Tottenham’s 2-1 win, and instead of the goal being awarded, given there was no offside, poor communication between the VAR referee and on-field referee Darren England led to it being disallowed.

The fallout from the incident has been huge, with refereeing association PGMOL apologising, and not for the first time this season due to other errors that have been made in the Premier League.

Sky Sports News put together a debate on Saturday in a bid to work through some of the issues with Dean, who worked as a Premier League VAR referee last season. But the debate exploded when Merson was left furious with Dean’s explanation that the game couldn’t have been stopped after it was restarted, given the audio showed that the officials realised their error quickly after the game had restarted.

After Merson started a shouting match in the studio, Dean replied by saying “It’s the law. Do you even know the law?”. Merson went on to say: “Just because you know the law, you think it’s different.” Dean then said: “You can’t change the law and that’s it. If he wans to blow up like a bottle of pop, that’s fine by me.” The host, Simon Thomas, then apologises to viewers about just how heated the debate got.

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You can see the argument in the Sky Sports News video below.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou, who benefitted from last week’s VAR mistake, has called for the technology to be scrapped, saying on Friday: “I would (scrap it) in its current form. I just don’t think that technology is ready for our game. I’ve got zero against goal-line technology. It’s a no-brainer and it works for our game.

“Our game is unique. People say, ‘Let’s get referees explaining their decisions’. Oh my God - seriously? Could you imagine sitting there listening to a referee explaining every decision in the game? I’m going to the gridiron on Sunday - I love American football. But it’s three and a half hours. The measure of who was a good referee was the ones you never noticed and now we’re trying to make them the stars of the show.

“We’re analysing, in slow motion, yellow cards. We, as managers and players, are the worst for it because we talk about integrity but I bet if you watch a game tonight, the first throw-in, both teams will appeal for it. We’re trying to take advantage and there’s nothing wrong with that. With VAR, the more we use it the worse it’s going to get. Clear and obvious error? It seems like everything is getting scrutinised.

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“It’s not our game. We’re not rugby - we don’t have those stoppages. What I always loved about our game - especially in England - was the frenetic pace. Why are we trying to take that out? None of us liked it when they were taking too long over a decision and last week it sounded like they were rushing it. Maybe that’s a consequence. That suggests to me the technology in its current form is not suitable to our game but I know I’ll be in the minority with that.”

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