Marseille manager Rudi Garcia 'cannot wait longer' for VAR after nearly missing out on Europa League final

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Marseille were on the wrong end of refereeing decisions against Salzburg.

Marseille coach Rudi Garcia cannot wait for the Video Assistant Referee system to be fully implemented.

OM advanced to the Europa League final on Thursday night courtesy of a dramatic extra-time goal against Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, which secured a 3-2 aggregate semi-final victory.

But Garcia took time out from celebrating to stress his view that the VAR technology cannot be introduced soon enough.

“I was confident all the way, focused all the way,” he said at his post-match press conference. “We will certainly talk about the episodes of arbitration and I take this opportunity to say I am strongly in favour of video decisions.

“I cannot wait longer for VAR. (With VAR) we would not have to talk about Salzburg’s second goal, where they had a man offside, we would not have to discuss the penalty they did not give us because of clear handball in the area, or from the corner that was apparently not for us at the end…

“With VAR, we will avoid 80 per cent of this kind of post-match talk.”

Substitute Jorge Rolando volleyed home from a corner in the 115th minute to secure OM’s place in the final, after Salzburg had earlier cancelled out a 2-0 first-leg deficit at Red Bull Arena.

Salzburg will feel aggrieved at the way they exited the tournament, with the corner which led to Rolando’s goal being awarded despite Andre-Frank Zambo’s 20-yard effort deflecting behind off a Marseille team-mate.

The home players protested against the decision but the referee was unmoved and Garcia’s side made the most of their lucky break to secure Marseille’s first European final appearance since 2004.

“I’m happy for the squad – they deserve it,” said Garcia, whose side will face Atletico Madrid in the May 16 showpiece in Lyon. “Over the two matches, it is deserved.

“The scenario was good. It is in the DNA of this team to go all the way, to believe until the end.

“It’s a real satisfaction to go to the final, but it’s not an end in itself. We have not won anything yet.”

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Steven Gerrard confirmed as new Rangers manager on four-year deal

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Steven Gerrard has landed his first top job in management.

Steven Gerrard is confident his ability will outweigh his inexperience as he vowed to meet the challenge of being Rangers manager head on.

The 37-year-old dismissed claims his appointment on a four-year contract was a risk and welcomed the intense pressure that will come with his high-profile introduction to management.

The former Liverpool captain got a “special feeling” when given the opportunity to speak to Rangers and decided the time was right to quit his role as Anfield Under-18s coach and take a leap of faith.

Gerrard, who confirmed Gary McAllister as his assistant, said: “I have confidence in myself, in my ability. I have weighed the gamble up and the risk and I understand other people thinking it is because it is my first job in management, but I have confidence in myself that I can deliver for these supporters.

“That’s the only thing that matters to me: do I think I can do a good job as the manager of Glasgow Rangers? In my mind, it’s yes.

“I love a challenge. My parents brought me up in life to always front a challenge – if you feel like that challenge is the right one for you, go for it. Go and front it up and give it your best shot. That’s exactly what I’m going to do here.

“I have been around a big football club for a long time, I’ve been around big matches, I’ve watched big managers perform and I’ve worked under big managers. I can’t do anything about having no experience where I sit right now.

“There’s only one way to go and get experience, and that is to believe in yourself that you have the right characteristics to take the challenge head on.”

Gerrard will take charge on June 1 and will watch from a distance as Rangers battle for second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership with Aberdeen and Hibernian.

The scale of his task was apparent as Celtic thrashed Gers 5-0 on Sunday to seal a seventh consecutive title but Gerrard appeared to relish the intensity of the rivalry and the demands that will be placed upon him as he goes head to head with his former Anfield boss, Brendan Rodgers.

“Pressure’s not a bad thing for me,” he said. “I played under pressure, I have lived under pressure since I left school. In football, if you are working under pressure you are in a good place. Since I stopped playing football, I have missed that pressure of fighting for three points at the weekend.

“Being Rangers manager, I know there will be a lot of scrutiny and pressure but that’s what I love about being involved in football.

“Bring it on. I don’t mind being under intense pressure. I knew that before I decided to be Rangers manager and I’m up for the challenge.”

Gerrard, who brushed off questions about the finances available to him, admitted the opportunity had intrigued him.

“When the call came it was a no-brainer for me,” he said. “I got a different feeling in my stomach from the previous opportunities I’ve had in terms of being a number one.

“There were a lot of things to think about but from that phone call I got a special feeling and I knew Rangers was for me.

“This opportunity doesn’t come around all the time. Clubs of this size with the stature, history and tradition. But the key was the opportunity.

I believe I can come in here and improve things and I believe I can make these fans happy.”

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Future of Wembley to be discussed in July meeting following £800million offer

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The future of Wembley will be discussed at parliament in the summer.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has called on representatives of the Football Association and Sport England to attend a one-off meeting on July 18 to talk about the national stadium.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch will also attend.

Shahid Khan, the owner of Fulham and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL, has made the FA an offer of £800million to purchase the 90,000-seater venue.

American billionaire Khan had been hopeful of completing a deal by August but the proposed sale, and just how the FA would reinvest the windfall, has generated much debate.

A potential stumbling block, revealed by the Daily Mail, surrounds measures which were implemented to guarantee the FA’s commitment to the stadium for 50 years following an injection of £161million from public bodies during the redevelopment project, which was completed in 2007.

Those stem from the National Audit Office’s report of June 2003 into the “English national stadium project at Wembley”, which goes on to explain how “the public sector funders have secured protections to safeguard the public interest in the project”.

Shahid Khan at the Fanatics Super Bowl Party

The NAO report said there were concerns “to safeguard the public interest by preventing the Football Association from appearing to profiteer, or destabilising the project, by taking windfall gains, including after refinancing”.

As such, protections were put in place stating the FA has to “retain a controlling interest in Wembley National Stadium Limited for 50 years from completion of the stadium and its ability to sell a minority interest is limited”.

The report adds: “The sale of any minority interest earlier than 2018 requires approval from the Secretary of State and between 2018 and 2022 the Football Association can sell only up to 15 per cent without approval.”

Following the continuing debate, the DCMS committee said in a statement issued on Friday morning that the proposed sale of the “national asset” was a “move of considerable public importance”.

The chairman of the DCMS committee, Damian Collins, said: “Wembley is the home of English football, built in part using public money.

“There should be some public scrutiny of any decision to sell the stadium and how proceeds from this could be invested to benefit the long-term future of the game.

Wembley Stadium 2

“The committee is interested in understanding the details of the FA’s proposals and receiving evidence from people who may hold alternative views.”

Written submissions from “interested parties” have also been welcomed by the DCMS committee, which can be contributed until 5pm on June 28.

When contacted by Press Association Sport on Friday, Sport England referred to a previous statement, which read: “Sport England invested £120m of National Lottery money into the development of Wembley Stadium.

“We look forward to hearing more detail about how such a deal would work and whether it would benefit grassroots sport.”

The FA did not immediately respond when approached for additional comment on Friday morning.

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