IT IS an issue which has dominated discussions in the Premier League this season and tomorrow Oxford United will get their first taste.

There will be a video assistant referee (VAR) monitoring all Emirates FA Cup ties played at top-flight grounds, including the U’s visit to Newcastle United.

Controversy has not been far away from the system since it was brought into the Premier League this season.

It has been criticised for leaving supporters at the stadiums in the dark when reviews are taking place.

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Fans have also been getting used to waiting to celebrate goals, while there remains an inconsistency over decision-making between games.

There is also a feeling of the FA Cup not being a level playing field.

United’s game today is subject to VAR, but if the tie went to a replay it would not, so an identical offence could be a penalty in one game and not in the other.

Karl Robinson remains unsure about whether it is a step forward.

“I was an advocate of it coming in,” the U’s head coach said.

“But the more I see it I think there’s an inconsistency of what’s a penalty or a handball.

“What I don’t like about it is the slowness of the game.

“Talking as a fan, I love the passion and the instinctive nature with which we judge our players.

“It just seems to take that away.”

Despite it having a potentially pivotal role in tomorrow’s contest, it is not something United have spent much time focusing on in their preparations.

Robinson said: “I think if you worry so much about that you forget about the rest of the game.

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“You have to be conscious of some of the things you might get away with in our league.

“I hope this is the talking point at the end of it, because it means we’ve run them relatively close.

“We’ll see.”

Jamie Mackie hopes it is not mentioned at all, with the experienced forward fed up of the topic.

He said: “I don’t particularly like it as a spectator.

“I love watching football and I’ve not enjoyed it this season.

“You’re out there to play football and that seems to be such a big distraction at the top level every week in terms of that’s what gets spoken about on a Monday, rather than the quality of a goal.

“People are waiting to celebrate a goal.

“That will be interesting if we end up scoring and end up waiting, it will be a new experience for us.”

And Mackie is not planning on changing the way he plays tomorrow because of VAR.

He said: “I don’t think I’ve got a lot to worry about with contentious offside decisions.

“The rules are there, I will play the same way I do every week.

“It will be a different experience, but we’re just there to play and get the right outcome.”