Date: 25th June 2019 at 2:31pm
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It seems that with far too many matches we watch at the moment there is ongoing controversy about the way that VAR is being used and is affecting the game.

Okay, so it’s a new system and there are issues to be ironed out. But surely there is a better way of introducing the system than is currently happening? It’s all about consistency. And, currently, there isn’t any. The lack of consistency appears to have introduced more issues than solutions in the way the system is being used.

I’ve seen some excellent VAR decisions (remember the City game!) and I’ve seen some terrible decisions. I’ve seen decisions where every supporter and television viewer could see the obvious result, only for VAR to decide otherwise. How the hell can that be possible?

We are now seeing a period of time after a ‘specific play’ on the park where none of the players or any of the spectators know what is happening. The players play on, but are unsure if play will be stopped because VAR is busily checking out possible infringements. The result of this is that the game loses its natural ‘flow’. It becomes stop/start/stop.

I watched one game where play was halted for 5/6 minutes until a review had been completed. At the end of that half there were 2 minutes of added-on time! How is that explained? It’s so basic that it’s ridiculous.

Maybe VAR should only be used in absolute ways instead of reviewing ANY possible infringement. We already have goal-line technology which works. VAR would be beneficial in reducing all the holding, pushing, and shoving, inside the box which has always been problematic for officials. I firmly believe that the officials should officiate and control the game, with VAR supporting in as few circumstances as practical.

Any rule changes introduced to improve the game can’t be bad but the operative word is ‘improve’. At the moment it seems to me that there are just as many (if not more) negatives relating to VAR than there were when the officials had complete control of the game. Human error has always been a factor in officiating but at least it rarely affected the flow of the game or the uncertainty for players and fans. The fact is that the VAR reviewer is human. It now appears that ‘human error’ is a part of the VAR review process as well. Is that improvement.

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89 Replies to “The Controversy Surrounding VAR. Where Do You Stand On The Issue?”

  • Very good article Geof, I agree the human error in the game makes the game, but when you put human error into VAR mmmm! whilst it was only one person involved, ie Ref or relevant Linesman, how many is it now? so for me its the old saying “to many cooks spoiling the broth” simple as that.

    Don’t get me wrong I am all for technology if it improves the game, but as an old dyno’ the way it is operating now is spoiling our favourite sport. PLEASE! get it right! COYS

  • No to VAR. It kills the passion and immediacy of the game.
    Ok, sometimes the officials get it wrong but are the VAR decisions any more acceptable in the spirit of the game?
    I think not.

  • Sorry Geof, I preempted a lot of what you say and ask in this article in another thread.

    Thing is that it is not the VAR review team that makes the final decision, it’s still the ref. But the ref and the VAR guys are still human after all … LOL.

    But I wouldn’t call it human error. I call it human subjective opinion. Mostly it is a clear cut decision that VAR works well in. But ironically it is often the controversial decisions that would normally occur without VAR being used that continue to be even more controversial. As they can be very subjective and open to interpretation. And so VAR hasn’t really helped at all in that respect. If anything it’s made worse and the controversy and debate is increased. Of course is VAR’s aim to decrease such problems of officiating in real time. Not to create yet more trouble…

    I could go on but I want to know what others think, first…

  • ….. Not to create yet more trouble, after several (open to interpretation), time consuming replays ….

  • Handball in the box is now absolute bollocks as is the offside rule. If a toenail can be offside why isn’t an arm offside. You can’t fast run without moving arms and legs. Should just be the torso as in athletics, or better still get rid of the offside rule altogether. Defences and attacks would soon adjust.
    VAR is a complete time waster and us supporters will either end up with half hour halves because the stupid regulators will make compensatory adjustments, or we will all miss our tea, or in some cases our train home, cos the match will go on for so long.
    Tinkering for the sake of it just like politicians, who do the same for their own stupid egotistical posterity.
    Waited fifty years for my team to get to the Champions League Final and the effing rules change blew it for us in 25 seconds.
    How does the chant go “the referees a W…..r”.

  • VAR is probably an improvement for the modern game. However because of the new rule changes coupled with VAR make it very annoying. In particular the new handball rule is nonsense. Having an arm in an unnatural position. What does this mean when as a player you are running or jumping. Humans run and move slightly differently to each other. a slight miss balance perhaps an innocent nudge from another player.
    In the coming season watch for attacking player firing shots at close range defenders, aiming not at the goal but deliberately at the opposing players body. Likewise the new rule for 3 man and above defenders only free kick walls. Wait for the kicker to aim low very hard shots at the defenders bodies rather than shooting at goal. All this will be for VAR rulings. I hope I’m wrong…….

  • HT …. I think one of the biggest issues is the time it takes for reviews to happen and how such long delays can affect the game. My rapidly increasing problem with the whole thing is that the ‘powers that be’ don’t seem to have spent enough time considering how the system will work and how it will affect the sport.
    We are currently experiencing the Women’s World Cup (which is a far greater attraction than in previous years as the sport is growing at a rapid rate) and VAR issues have been been on show for the world to see.
    I just hope that someone (?) does something (?) about it very quickly. Maybe someone on here can fix it. : – )

  • VAR Is not the problem, apart from the time it takes. From what we see on the TV a decision should be much much quicker and certainly not several minutes. The real problem is FIFA/UEFA screwing around with the rules. Look what a mess they have made of the offside rule over the years. Now we have an absolute farce with the penalty decisions. Mark my words as soon as players return for pre season every one of them will be practising flicking the ball up onto a players arm. The Sissoko decision was a farce but nothing to what the EPL will degenerate into when it resumes. It is ridiculous there will be multiple penalties a game if this rule persists.

  • VAR is being used on far too many things in the game by the authorities concerned. They are going over the top and potentially ruining the game we all love. VAR should only be used for extreme moments that cause controversy in the game. A goal keepers foot not being on the line in a penalty or determining who’s corner it should be is pathetic use of technology and only is taking the edge of the spontaneity out the game we all need to be there. Stop using VAR to over ride and undermine the referees, they are the official persons that govern any ongoing game, not a damn TV screen with a line across the pitch display.
    Any call should be made by the referee as to whether he or she needs the use of VAR on an incident, not the other way round.know your place VAR people, it’s our beautiful game not yours.

  • It’s already been proved that it is still open to error.
    Goal line technology Yes
    VAR. still needs to be tested and a better understanding by those doing the review,
    It will still be a matter of opinion even when using VAR,
    So will continue to be errors and complaints

  • Some really good comments and I think most supporters would agree with them. No matter how we look at it, it’s not looking good!

  • I hate VAR. All those video reviews interfere with the flow of the game. Referees make mistakes but it is not the end of the world.

  • Have I missed something with VAR from the WC? I thought it was clear and obvious errors only and then goal checks. Now lino’s are told to keep the flag down rather than making a decision, refs are using it as an excuse to not make a decision and so on.

    How it’s being used, I thought was categorically not how it was supposed to be used?

  • Some of the absolutely stupid decisions I’ve seen with the use of VAR make me question whether anything to do with football officials must be corrupt. But that couldn’t be the case, could it? FIFA or UEFA corrupt? How silly of me. But seriously, I’ve seen enough ridiculous VAR decisions that corruption has become a reasonable hypothesis to make sense of them.

  • did you see Brazil held to a 0 x 0 draw after three goals were disallowed by VAR? three goals disallowed by VAR? after that the game wasn’t worth watching. the beautiful game has gone away. the flow is gone. I urge the match officials to go on strike over this. surely they must be thinking that VAR is making fools of them. what’s the sense in making a call anymore?

    • I’m not so sure, didn’t see Brazil but what I’ve seen from this WC only one referee so far has seemed intent on keeping charge, the others have bowed to VAR to absolve them of any blame.

      I agree as it stands the game has gone but VAR should be a worthy addition, the penalty rule charge is equally as ridiculous as just seen in the Dutch v Japan match.

      • lol i was writing about the men’s team in the Copa America. The Brazilian team had three goals, all disallowed on VAR. match ended 0 x 0. at the end of the match I wished I hadn’t watched it, and it’s not often I feel that way about watching some footie.

  • I think the real issue is about the officials giving due consideration to certain decisions. The game is very fast, played by extraordinarily fit athletes, many of whom are willing to cheat whenever possible. VAR allows officials to review situations in a considered manner to give what they feel is the best decision. They are not always going to be in your favour/the right decision, but at least they’ll have been properly thought out. I think that is better than some often arbitrary off the cuff where the referee virtually guesses what happened

  • Arky, VAR has not confirmed either way, that that deal is over the line as yet…

    Endless action replays of new players signing their new club contracts? That’s something for the future. The TW is after all a sport of sorts in itself. And some supporters do seem to talk transfers more than they talk the actual game of football…

    I blame Levy!

    VAR, rule changes, my dodgy left peg, TW’s and Brexit! I blame Levy!

  • HT …. ‘VAR has not confirmed either way, that that deal is over the line as yet’ …. that brought a smile to my face!

  • I think a lot of the debate is not actually centered on VAR, but on how the rules themselves are written. If the rules leave too much room for interpretation, VAR or no VAR, there is always going to be debate. In 2019, there are still phases which can be looked at by different people, without a clear consensus on what the outcome should be. There is the biggest problem.

    VAR is a plus to the sport, but on the condition that everyone agrees on what to do if they are shown a passage of play. For example, the new penalty rule may not be fair all the time, but at least it’s clear and should remove confusion/interpretation. However, many rules aren’t as clear and therein lies the problem.

    As for the WWC, I don’t think it’s a great platform to judge VAR on. Not to be sexist but the standard of refereeing in the women’s game is still well below the standards in the men’s game, and referees are hiding behind VAR.

    Implemented correctly, I am all for it. The Brazil game in Copa America was actually a good example – 3 decisions, all right. It makes the game more honest and fairer. Surely the downside of having to wait a little outweighs the hindrance of letting a referee decide the outcome of a game. That’s going backwards.

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