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Sir Keir Starmer reveals his lawyer background means he is pro-VAR in football

Richard Wheeler, PA Parliamentary Editor
·2 min read

Sir Keir Starmer has declared his support for controversial video technology used to help football referees.

The Labour leader said his lawyer background means he “quite likes” the use of video assistant referees (VAR) as he wants the right decision to be reached.

Arsenal fan Sir Keir also insisted he remains optimistic about the Gunners’ prospects under Mikel Arteta’s management despite the north London team languishing in 10th position in the Premier League.

Sir Keir Starmer
Arsenal fan Sir Keir says he quite likes VAR (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

VAR is supposed to be used when a clear and obvious error has been made by the on-field officials.

But the system has been criticised for being used too often, with those operating it under fire for their interpretation of the laws of the game.

Speaking to LADbible as part of UNILAD’s ‘Minutes with’ series, Sir Keir said his two children and football are his “fantastic release” from politics.

Asked if he was pro-VAR or anti-VAR, Sir Keir replied: “Oh, I quite like VAR. This is the lawyer in me.

“I quite like the right decision although, as ever, it depends who’s playing.”

Earlier asked for his view on Arteta, the Arsenal season ticket holder replied: “Despite the results, because we’re fighting to get into the top half of the table at the moment, I’m optimistic and I’m particularly optimistic about the really new young players that are coming through.

“We’ve got (Bukayo) Saka, (Emile) Smith-Rowe, (Gabriel) Martinelli, fantastic new players, young players breaking through.”

Sir Keir also said the Covid-19 pandemic has made his job as Labour leader harder.

Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir says he has been frustrated by the limiting effects of Covid on his job as Labour leader (Ben Birchall/PA)

He explained: “Without being out and about in town centres, in communities, in businesses where you talk to people close up, have the sort of conversations that you’d normally have without restrictions, it is much, much harder.

“I feel very much like I want to sort of take the mask off and open the throttle, and I haven’t been able to for the 12 months or so I’ve been leader.”

Sir Keir, who succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as leader, said he is looking forward to speaking to live audiences and meeting people in their communities.