VAR or video assistant referee is no doubt disrupting this years World Cup in Russia. VAR allows for important calls on the pitch to be reviewed with 4 assistant watching the game on a screen. Having had a rocky start before being introduced into official football games, it is still being highly criticized, and it is sometimes described as creating as much confusion as clarity. Following the World Cup, it will be part of the sport permanently when various European leagues are set to kick off their seasons.
I am writing this article right before the France vs Belgium semi and already this world cup has broken the record of penalties awarded in one tournament. A total of 26 penalties have been awarded so far shattering the previous record of 18 in 1990, 1998 and 2002. 7 out of the 24 penalties have been awarded by the VAR system. VAR technology is having a huge disruption on the beautiful game. Is it for the better?
The disagreement when it comes to how VAR is being implemented is that referees are not being consistent in their decision making. One referee might award a penalty kick to a team while another might not in a different game for the same infraction.These VAR inconsistencies are where disagreements often start. In my opinion, the same already happens without VAR, so I welcome the technology and its influence on the beautiful game. There are already proposals to change how VAR is used going forward to perfect the system, with talks of even awarding 1 VAR challenge per team per half. Personally, I am not a supporter of going as far as this. Football’s beauty has a lot to do with its fluidity and uninterrupted gameplay.
Historically, there’s always been feelings of not allowing technology to disrupt the game and preserve a sport that has always allowed for mistakes to happen. Going forward, technology will improve the game, so it can accurately represent the laws of the game. In my view, it will change the game for the better and provide a purer version of football. Do you agree?