VAR and Why It Could Ruin Football

Racepoint Global

Written by: Danny Breen – PR Intern, Racepoint Global UK

The world of football or as American’s call it, soccer, has come a long way from black and white televisions, Terry Butcher’s famous bloodied headband and Eric Cantona’s bizarre Kung Fu kick incident with a Crystal Palace fan. In more recent times, a new wave of technology features have been introduced into the game, which have caused a variety of opinions, ranging from disappointment to optimism. Goal line technology was first introduced in 2014, where the referee is alerted if the ball has crossed the line immediately. However, the latest technological element to grace the beautiful game is the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), and it’s had quite the introduction.

VAR is a system that can only be used for controversial incidents involving goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identity. Many ex-pros, pundits and current managers, including Alan Shearer and Jurgen Klopp have had their say on the new system. Jurgen Klopp branded VAR as a ‘farce’ as VAR was the centre of attention when West Brom visited Liverpool in the FA Cup. It took referee, Craig Pawson over four minutes to award West Brom a penalty in the match. The game will and has already turned into a stop/start encounter since VAR has been involved.

Alan Shearer brandished it as a ‘shambles’ after a controversial FA Cup tie between Chelsea and Norwich that saw Chelsea win a dramatic cup tie on penalties.  Chelsea’s Willian was wrongly booked for diving and VAR wasn’t consulted. So when VAR is used, it takes too long and when a decision needs to be reviewed, it isn’t. The referees, like the players and the managers, will make mistakes – we are all human after all, and this is coming from a Chelsea fan who witnessed his team dumped out of a Champions League tie against Liverpool due to a ‘Ghost Goal’ incident. Mistakes are inevitable in life, not just in football, and you have to move on.

VAR has already taken centre stage away from the football itself. It could potentially kill the one thing that people enjoy the most about football, the adrenaline rush a fan gets when your team scores a goal. Imagine scoring a goal, celebrating, having the goal reviewed by VAR, and it being given, yes it’s still a goal but all the fun has been sucked out of the most enjoyable part of the game. With VAR being introduced into the World Cup this summer, it’ll be ‘make it or break it’ for the latest feature of the beautiful game – well, beautiful for now.