The Professional Match Officials Limited(PGMOL) recently announced it would trial the video assistant referee(VAR) technology in English Premier League games, an announcement that has got a lot of English football fans talking.
While a lot of fans and pundits have criticized the introduction of the technonogy to the sport, it has received a pass-mark from many, including yours faithfully.
Pundits and football fans have spoken of controversies as part of the game and how VAR is killing the fun. But this argument is faulty, especially when you think of hard work this players put into this games. Plus, there’s only fun in injustice when you’re not on the receiving end.
Against Spain in the UEFA Nations League, Danny Welbeck’s goal was ruled out when it should have stood. A less than two minutes review is all the referee would have needed to see the goal was faultless.
But like a lot of other teams before them, England lost the game and might eventually lose top spot because of a refereeing mistake that could have been avoided with VAR.
Honestly, this is actually the only problem I had with VAR. The amount of time it takes to review situations and the effect it has on players. A team in a very good attacking phase of a game could see their momentum halted by review stoppage and getting their groove back might not be possible.
But as we’ve seen in recent times, the referees are doing their utmost best to make it as short as possible. And there can always be additional time added for stoppages.
Being a new technology, there’s bound to be challenges. Like inconsistency in refereeing decisions even after a review but this is going to get better as the referees improve.
It is also important we understand that the VAR doesn’t make the decisions. He suggests a review and the man in the middle takes the decision. The technology is a great addition to the game, all it needs is capable minds taking the decisions after review.
According to FIFA, VAR had a success rate of 99.3 percent at the World cup. The figure for correct calls before the world cup was 95 percent. VAR should be a permanent feature in football like it is in the NFL, it does more good than harm for the game.