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Thierry Henry says VAR in football is ‘not fast enough’ on goal reviews and waiting for results ‘kills the joy of the game’


Joe Lemire

Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s all-time top scorer and World Cup winner with France, spoke about his investment in virtual reality training company Rezzil and his thoughts on VAR technology in sport.

Speaking to the Leaders Week speaking at the sport business conference at Twickenham Stadium, Henry said he was immediately won over by Rezzil’s “unlimited” use cases. VR technology, which is also backed by Gary Neville and Vincent Kompany, creates VR training programs for football, soccer, basketball and tennis. He was adopted by Manchester City and participated in the inaugural cohort of the NBA Launchpad program.

Henry said the cognitive part of the game is underdeveloped, and when he first saw a demo of Rezzil he said, “‘Okay, that’s something where I can see the game unroll.’ Because often a trainer says to you, “I’ll make you faster, I’ll make you stronger and so on. But it’s weird that you can’t have something or someone telling you, ‘I’m going to make you smarter and help that muscle memory you have.’

He described the brain as the best camera money can buy and added: “I always say your eyes are useless if your mind is blind.”

Henry, whose storied career also included notable stints with Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls, was the head coach of Monaco and the Montreal Impact. He is now an assistant for the Belgium national team and has shared his thoughts on VAR, the Video Assistant Referee. Henry said VAR was useful but football could learn from other sports. He said it was ‘not fast enough’, particularly on goal reviews, describing a goalscorer unsure whether to celebrate or not, pending VAR’s decision.

“It kinda kills the joy of the game,” he said. “So we have to find a way not to kill the joy of the game, and we get the right results based on what happened.”


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