The Video Assistant Referee or VAR as it is more colloquially known in the football circuit has been a major talking point ever since it was implemented in 2018. There are plenty of football fans from around the world who believe that the introduction of VAR has ruined the essence of the beautiful game and the football authorities aren’t using the technology to its best effect.
Many have asked to remove VAR altogether from next season but that doesn’t seem the best way forward. Technology in sport always has its place and it should be embraced rather than ridiculed. In this piece, we highlight the problems that fans have with VAR and how it can be improved in the coming seasons.
CONSISTENCY IN DECISION MAKING
The biggest issue to tackle for the authorities is how they will introduce some consistency in similar decisions. The main problem with this is that the VAR is a human referee who is watching almost every angle possible of a replay and there is room for interpretation. So what is a foul for one referee may not resonate with the other one. Hence situations of inconsistency arise with the technology.
VAR was introduced to take the howler decision out of the game. There’s always this term known as a ‘clear and obvious’ mistake which goes around when the talk of VAR comes up so the football authorities desperately need to define this term as soon as possible.
LESS STOPPAGE IN PLAY
Another big problem with the VAR for the fans is the amount of time it takes to come to a decision. Football is a fast-paced game and when something comes in which slows down the overall speed of the game then it will obviously be contested by the fans. The basic point is that if it is taking so much time to come to a conclusion then clearly it isn’t a clear and obvious error, hence the on-field referee’s decision should stay.
MAKE THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN REFEREES PUBLIC
Just like cricket or hockey, football should also look to mic up the referees and make sure that the players, fans in the stadiums and fans watching on the television are able to hear every word which is being said between the referees. This will help everyone understand the thought process behind a decision and there will be less of a backlash after a touch-and-go decision is made.
ON-FIELD REFEREE TO VISIT THE ON GROUND MONITOR MORE OFTEN
There is an on-field monitor for the referee to go and check if the VAR tells him to take a second look at certain decisions. Currently, football isn’t making the most of the on-field monitor and it is there just for formality. The referees more often than not stick to the VAR’s call when they check the monitor and aren’t making his/her own decisions.
The biggest issue with managers and players is that the on-field referee isn’t the real referee of the game and it is the person who is sitting miles away from the stadium making all the important decisions. If the on-field referees are liberated with most of their decisions then this issue can be resolved swiftly.
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