Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Good or bad for Football?

Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Good or bad for Football?

Just four years ago in Brazil where the last World cup held, the goal line technology was deployed to the game of football. At its introductory stage, there were arguments for and against it.

 


Though it wasn’t unexpected, but four years down the line, the technology has been welcomed with both hands. So in March 2018, the FIFA came up with the decision to introduce the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system at the Russia 2018 world cup.

 

The Video Assistant Referee system, known as VAR, is football’s first use of video technology to reach more correct decisions. Prior to it being used at Russia 2018 world cup, the system had its trials in the FA and Carabao cups last season, as well as the German and Italian leagues.

 

This is the first world cup using video replays, although goal-line technology was successfully deployed in Brazil four years ago.

 

Many of the opposition or arguments against VAR stems from the disruption to the flow of the game.VAR only intervenes in the course of a match when the officials have made ‘a clear and obvious error’ in one of four key areas.

  • Goals

A close offside decision is the most common reason for VAR being consulted after a goal has been scored, but shirt pulling and other infringements can cause goals to be chalked off.

  • Penalties

The most subjective and arguably problematic area. Penalties can be awarded or rescinded using VAR if there has been a ‘clear and obvious error’ in the original decision.

  • Straight red cards

Violent conduct and dangerous tackles can be penalized using VAR . Second yellow cards cannot

  • Mistaken Identity

If the referee sends off the wrong player, that injustice can be repaired.

 

The system is restricted to these areas in order to minimize disruption to the flow of the game. There have been several controversies and teething problems during VAR’s trial stages, and the system has many opponents.

 

The FIFA World Cup 2018 has had its own fair share of controversies too. Let’s remind ourselves the five times VAR has made the difference in this world cup;

  1. France 2 – 1 Australia (June 16th, 2018)  – It was the first time VAR was used to award a penalty at the world cup.
  2. Brazil 2 – 0  Costa Rica
  3. Iran 1 – 1 Portugal
  4. Spain 2 – 2 Morocco
  5. Sweden 1 – 0  Switzerland

 

If you are a fan of any of these countries you would probably be a friend or foe of VAR depending on how the decisions of VAR has affected your beloved country.

 

However, one thing we all should bear in mind is that, VAR’s introduction is to help reduce controversial circumstance in the game to the barest minimum.

 

Many off-the-ball infringements and mistaken identities have been nearly eliminated all thanks to VAR.

 

The World Cup in Russia has also witnessed improved Player behaviour, all thanks to VAR.

 

If you were to list the merits and demerits of VAR at this world cup, which side would you be? A friend or foe?

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