There was talk about video assistant referees, or VAR as it’s commonly known, coming into football many years before it actually did. Referees and their assistants make mistakes, they’re only human after all.
This often led to mass debate about the decisions that were made after every game and many used to demand for technology to be implemented so that the correct decisions could be made more often than not. So, we’re finally seeing VAR being implemented but is it all it’s cracked up to be?
It’s said that the select group of referees get around 96% of decisions right as things stand and that VAR will help to take that total even higher, reducing the amount of mistakes made even further. So immediately the positive is that VAR will undoubtedly ensure more accurate and correct calls are made, meaning results should ultimately be fairer.
Referees at times can be indecisive about what they have seen or what they think they have seen. They can often be seen communicating with their assistants, either those running the line or the fourth official, in order to gain some clarity. What VAR will do is remove that indecisiveness, there will no longer be any grey periods, which will be a huge benefit to the referee and then to the teams playing.
There really are a lot of advantages when it comes to implementing VAR in football and another is that it’s extremely beneficial to those viewing the game live on TV. This is because they can see exactly what is happening, with the decisions being shown in the form of an on screen picture or video replay. However, this does lead on to one of the negatives surrounding the technology.
In many fan’s eyes, if they’re watching the game live at the stadium, when the VAR is put into action they have no idea what’s going on. They can’t see things on a screen and there is no communication with them in any way, shape or form. This has led to a sort of disconnect between spectators and the game itself and took away a bit of the magic of the game. Many feel VAR is more geared up to appease those watching on television over those at the ground.
There was always going to be teething problems when VAR was finally introduced and the real issue right now is the waiting time between the referee calling for VAR and the decision being made. That and the fact some decisions seem to use VAR and some don’t have left a bit of a sour taste so far for a lot of people.
The more it is used, the better it will work because things can be tweaked along the way to improve performance. It would certainly be better if the time between putting it into action and making the decision was reduced and if the fans could be kept informed in the stadium. Otherwise, the disconnect between supporters and the game could become a very real problem.