The video assistant referee technology (shortened to VAR Technology) has had a topsy-turvy journey so far in the footballing world, as it has attracted its fair share of polarized reviews where the question still remains: Is it time to totally scrap it or use it with its existing fallacies to make sure it gets better in the future?
But Before We Begin, Here’s A Little Introduction About VAR Technology:
Used as a video referral system, VAR deploys multiple monitors and sound-checking systems in a video operation room when there is a disputed decision on the field. The referee can ask for a video referral in case the ball is disputed to have crossed the goal line or if there’s confusion based on giving a team a penalty in the box.
The 2nd case where the VAR Technology is used is when the VAR officials judge that there is a clear propensity of an error.
Based on a coordinated decision, the on-field referees make the final call.
The Rise Of VAR Technology:
After its inclusion in the laws of the game, VAR has seen its usage spread to the Bundesliga (Germany’s premier football league) and Serie A (Italy’s premier football league), with the major focal point being its usage at the FIFA World Cup, football’s biggest tournament which is only 3 months away.
But Is It Really That Efficient, After All?
Well if the players and coaches are to be believed, it’s not.
Zinedine Zidane, Luka Modric, Gianluigi Buffon and Mauricio Pochettino have been rather unimpressed by the usage of VAR technology, calling it “confusing” and further talking about its abrupt methodology. Pochettino has gone a step ahead and talked about how this technology will kill the emotion of football.
The major criticism has been labeled at the usage of VAR due to the unnecessary halts it causes in the game-play. Furthermore, match officials have talked about the isolation of its usage, with some saying that the match screens in the stadiums should display the VAR decisions instead of them being analysed by only 3 people in the VOR Room, to bring about transparency between the officials and the spectators.
The confusion because of VAR was evident in Tottenham Hotspur’s win over Rochdale, where decisions by the video assistant referee halted the play on multiple occasions and controversy took center stage multiple times, including a penalty scored by Tottenham which was later overturned.
Even if the decisions were fair, the unnecessary halt for two legitimately scored goals proved to be a major buzzkill during the game and it serves as enough reason for the spectators to be angry after paying top-drawer prices, only to see consistently halted matches.
Even though VAR has had its moments of fair play (Liverpool vs West Bromwich Albion), West Brom’s manager Alan Pardew was still critical of the technology, despite his team clinching an emphatic 3-2 victory as it gave 2 decisions against his side including suspicion for a legitimately scored 3rd goal.
It has also been widely reported that the VAR technology won’t be used in the next Champions League season, as well.
Conclusion, For Now:
Is the criticism against VAR justified? Sure. Is it too early to completely scrap it off? It’s not.
The best case scenario would be extensive test runs, where multiple small-scale matches can be judged using VAR in order to see how the kinks in the system can be improved. Sure, just like the Goal Line Technology, it’ll take time to get acclimatized to but this is something which can definitely help in bringing more fairness to the sport and chalk out any tendencies of unfair decisions based on human error.
Be that as it may, the litmus test of the VAR technology will be at the FIFA World Cup 2018 and we sure hope it passes it with flying colors.
Image Credits: Google Images
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