VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is one of the most controversial and ‘marmite’ esque additions to football ever, it’s not just changed how people play the game but also how people bet on the game, here are the tips for today’s games. FIFA are constantly looking at ways of modernising and improving the game through the introduction of new technology. With other sports incorporating technology seamlessly into their rulebook, it seems like FIFA have felt the pressure to do so as well. This has resulted in the likes of Goal Line Technology and the ever contentious VAR technology implemented throughout the game. The 2018 World Cup, 2019 Champions League and Premier League all adopted VAR into their play in an attempt to officiate the beautiful game that little bit better. But it has not been without its talking points – and some seriously dodgy decisions. Let’s find out if VAR is good for football, and if it is, what are the Pros and Cons of this technology within the game.
We’ve sourced the real positives behind having VAR included in the beautiful game. After all, there is a reason many football fans and experts are huge advocates for this technology.
- Top Level Officiating
VAR allows for the variable doubt with close offsides, off-days for referees and danger within the game to be exterminated to a larger extent. The all seeing eye means that every decision made it ‘technically’ more likely to be the right one. This means if you are even an inch offside, you’re identified as offside. This is a real bonus to the game in terms of avoiding any masterclass cheats like the likes of the ‘Hand of God’ happening again and certainly has helped to stamp out that early 2010s fad of simulation in the penalty box. VAR allows certainty and stops upset like the Irish against Thierry Henry’s cheaty hand France.
Other major sports such as rugby and cricket have been using VAR technology for years with great success. It was only a matter of time that football started to adopt it for its officiating. The only thing that had been holding it back was the armchair football purists resolute defiance of the system. However, as the seasons go on with the use of VAR, both the players and the fans are starting to become normalised with it and as they do you get to see the rewards of the system. The initial period has been ironed out of its problems.
Whether you agree or not with VAR, no-one can deny the entertainment factor that it can add to football games. The penalty retakes for goalies being off their lines, the centimeter off-side decisions and the fateful moment the referee brings a halt to the game to go over and consult the pitch-side monitor all bring some serious drama to the game like never before. They get you on the edge of your seat and hooked to the game adding that extra element that was not incorporated into football before.
Whilst there are certainly some good things about VAR, there are plenty of bad things about it too and some people think the bad almost definitely outweighs the good.
One of the biggest complaints against the use of VAR technology in football is its degradation of the natural, human nature bit of football. People see the use of VAR as an intrusion into a game which has stood the test of time. They see it as encroaching onto the very principles of the game and taking away from the grassroots game which this sport is so famously known for. They do have a point, to be fair, as you are very unlikely to get yourself a VAR technology system set up when playing jumpers for goalposts with your mates down the local park.
Another large grievance with VAR is the, sometimes absurd, time waits for decisions. The pulling back of the game. The stopping and starting. The constant listening to the VAR conference room for referee backing. It all affects the flow and atmosphere of football games.
It continues to happen all too often with VAR, particularly in the Premier League, whereby the rules seem to be different game to game. The VAR decisions open up a huge avenue for subjectivity and differing referee interpretation. This causes confusion and anger amongst fans, not to mention players and coaches, who are often left feeling hard done to.
Is it good for football? Well, this is a hard question to answer. One thing is certain, it is a completely different game now with VAR involved. What’s perhaps more notable is that, unfortunately for anti-VAR folks, it’s an inevitability. It doesn’t really matter if it is good or not. Overall can be good but can also be terrible. Depends if you are a purist or not. But VAR is here to stay and one can only imagine what the next technological interference (or addition, depending on your stance) will be in the ‘beautiful game’.