The introduction of VAR into football in 2018 was meant to solve the recurring predicament of “missed incidents” and “errors” in football matches, and while the technology has helped to curtail the pressing problems, it has also created more controversies.
Let’s give you a brief understanding of what VAR is according to Wikipedia.
WHAT IS VAR?
The video assistant referee (VAR) is a match official in association football who reviews decisions made by the head referee with the use of video footage and a headset for communication.
Following extensive trialling in a number of major competitions, VAR was first written into the Laws of the Game by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 2018. Operating under the philosophy of “minimal interference, maximum benefit”, the VAR system seeks to provide a way for “clear and obvious errors” and “serious missed incidents” to be corrected
The launch of VAR in the Premier League this season for instance has been met with mixed feelings.
Take for example in the highly anticipated clash between Man United & Arsenal at Old Trafford which ended in a 1 – 1 draw.
The footballing world was left speechless as the linesman flagged Aubameyang for offside after he scored when he was actually miles onside before the goal. Luckily the video assistant referee corrected the error and the goal was counted.
Yet, VAR has had its down times.
Leicester City thought they had snatched a valuable point at Anfield against table toppers Liverpool.
In the closing stages of that game however, VAR gave a highly debatable penalty to the home side which they gladly took and won the match 2 – 1.
Another recent event was at the Emirates stadium.
Arsenal couldn’t guarantee all 3 points after the technology cancelled what could have been a winning goal by defender Sokratis, claiming there was a foul in the build up to the goal. The gunners had to settle for a 2 – 2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Former Premier League Referee Matt Clattenburg said this about the incident:
VAR left me puzzled at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. I’m still lost as to why they got involved to award Crystal Palace a penalty against Arsenal when, in my opinion, Wilfried Zaha clearly dived.
Then in the last 10 minutes, Sokratis scored to make it 3-2, only for VAR to chalk it off. Meanwhile, those at home and inside the stadium were left trying to work out why.
Australian Jarred Gillett was the video official at Stockley Park and I would love to have heard his reasoning.
I really have no problems with VAR but I suggest it should be limited to correct offside calls only and if there is going to be a review of anything inside the box, the referee should consult the small screen at the touchline to have a second look.
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