By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has criticised the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) in Spain this season, saying it disrupted the natural flow of games and that he would prefer to see the use of goal-line technology instead.
Suarez scored a goal in Barca’s 8-2 win over Huesca on Sunday which was initially ruled out for offside but later awarded after the referee consulted VAR, leaving the Uruguayan unconvinced by the system.
“VAR stifles celebrations,” Suarez said in an interview with radio station RAC1 broadcast on Wednesday.
“Defenders are now asking for something the whole time. I would prefer to just have goal-line technology. With VAR, the game can lose naturalness,” he added.
“Perhaps a play starts with an involuntary handball, you counter-attack and score, then they review the play and rule it out.”
Spain has joined top-flight leagues in Italy and Germany in implementing VAR after having no form of technology last season, when Suarez was denied a goal against Valencia despite television showing the ball had clearly crossed the line.
The English Premier League has used goal-line technology since 2013 but is yet to introduce VAR, which was widely hailed as a success when used at the 2018 World Cup.
Suarez, 31, scored for the first time in five games in all competitions in Sunday’s win over Huesca and admitted he needs to manage his minutes on the pitch better in order to get the best out of himself.
Above all, he regrets playing in a La Liga game against Leganes last season three days before the Champions League quarter-final second leg at AS Roma, where Barca slumped to a 3-0 defeat to go out on away goals after winning 4-1 at home.
“Rotating is the coach’s decision but I realise that I should rest in the more straightforward games in the league,” said Suarez, who has won three La Liga titles and one Champions League since joining Barca from Liverpool in 2014.
“It happened to me last season against Leganes, just before the game against Roma. You want to play every game but I’m aware that I need to regulate my minutes to be sharp in the biggest games.
“You have to get into the rhythm of the games but when you are tired you need to rest.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by John O’Brien)