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?”

  • Ignoring the fact that I disagree with you BS (there’s a surprise) on VAR being a good idea; Your opinion is based upon what you would like to see changed in football and not on what we are actually seeing with VAR that is wrong. And because it is a sport played by humans, there will always be an element of open interpretation on many rulings. We, they, are not robots and human error is not an unnatural phenomenon. And human error doesn’t necessarily equate to poor refereeing. And VAR cannot magically turn a bad ref into a good one but, can often seem to make a good ref look bad…

    Besides, apart from the Chinese ref in the Cameroon v England match, I haven’t seen any particularly bad refereeing. I think it’s been pretty good. And even though that ref was poor imo, the actions of the Cameroon players in reaction to the VAR decisions the went against them, are not the kind of action that referees, male or female have to deal with on a weekly basis.

  • FlySpur …. ‘In a considered manner’ seems to be the problem. It takes far too long to consider and that affects the game in too many negative ways.

  • Just another observation on the refs and refereeing at this WC…

    Just as it is with the players having to change certain aspects of their understanding of the game because of several rule changes; Having to adjust their mindset to deal with the several new rulings that have been debuted at this tournament; is obviously just as difficult for the refs to acclimatise themselves to. As it also is for us supporters that are merely observing it all.

    I don’t like any of the new rule changes but who knows? Maybe this time next year, I will have gotten so used to them that I won’t even consider them as poor anymore.

    Unfortunately I can’t foresee this and with VAR and the new rulings hitting the PL next season I think there will be numerous incidents that will cause yet more controversy that will take away from the beautiful game itself as a great sport and spectacle.

    And as we have seen more and more of over the years, so much talk of the game from commentators, pundits and all, is concentrated on what has been analysed after endless repeats from every angle and less of the actual football itself…. And I think VAR is only set to accelerate this decline in the game whereby it’s what didn’t happen or what folks feel should’ve happened in real-time that dictates the debates, and not what did happen that was good in the game… And I am so fed up with the endless commentary in live matches about what happened 10 minutes before what is happening right now! And, I’m thoroughly bored with the endless and pointless analyses that follows… “Was it handball?” asks Lineker. “No!’ says Ferdinand. “Yes” says Shearer. “I don’t know” says Hoddle…. Ad Nausea…

    As one poster that is also against VAR, humorously but bitterly wrote on the Forum; “Camera’s for goalposts, everyone!”

  • BS …. ‘Surely the downside of having to wait a little outweighs the hindrance of letting a referee decide the outcome of a game’.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here. In so much as the referee is (or should be) in charge of the game he/she will always contribute to the outcome of the game. This is how the game has been played for many decades and I can’t remember bad referee decisions having a more negative impact on games than we are currently seeing with VAR.

    A bad decision was soon forgotten (after a few seconds booing) and the games continued on. But now we are still seeing bad decisions whilst losing a significant amount of game time as well. I believe that is unacceptable.

    In theory VAR is a good thing but, in practice, there are too many things to sort out before it works the way it should. I only hope it improves.

  • Unfortunately the real problem is that we were more or less forced down the VAR road due to the incompetence of the current crop of PL referees, probably the worst bunch in the history of the PL. In fact the standard is lower with full time professional referees than it used to be when school teachers, civil servants, and police officers used to moonlight as referees. We got to the stage that every weekend there was a famous error by a referee that had affected a PL result. VAR is not the answer but only the recognition of a problem. There are individuals, we all know who they are, who are incapable of refereeing a top class football match competently. I have long believed that every referee should be assessed in every game and given a score and at the end of the season there should be promotion and relegation between the PL and the championship so that the bottom 3 PL refs and the tp 3 championship refs are promoted and relegated. Currently incompetence is simply tolerated.

  • So Frank, are you suggesting that incompetent referees are acceptable in the Championship? Surely if they are below an acceptable standard then they should undergo re-training, if they still don’t reach the require level following this then they shouldn’t be in charge of PL or EFL games?

  • To be honest I am in agreement with Frank and his comments esp this last season, am also going along with TQ2 regards his suggestion of re-training.

    My biggest problem is the bias shown by a number of refs for the so called bigger clubs/sides, I personally know 2 of them who were/are that way inclined, and I have given them some stick but you get the nose stuck up in the air attitude in reply. COYS

  • VAR if used correctly and quickly is a good idea, i.e. offside decisions, defending / attacking at corners and free kicks players shoving and holding. However the new rules on penalty handball and lines officials flag down until afterwards on infringement is not good. As this is the first season VAR is widely used, I hope the time delays reduce, and refs. / lines officials instant decisions on the incidents allowed unless a clear infringement refs./ lines officials missed, due to the speed of play or obscured view. At spurs we had the joy of a goal disallowed correctly in CL City game, yet suffered in the final a doubtful decision. So VAR works for or against but the rationale is right.

  • For me VAR is so wrong and the laws of the game are being amended to try to make VAR easier to implement. Offside is never offside if a strikers big toe is an inch beyond the last defender – there is no advantage gained. Offside should be where an attacker is gaining an advantage by having his body clearly ahead of the last defender. Handball is only handball if it is deliberate or if a player scores or saves a goal because it hits his hand. This VAR nonsense is taking away the joy of celebrating a goal and is taking away the human element of the game. Conceding/scoring goals due to refereeing mistakes is all part of the game. Deal with it. I absolutely hate VAR.

  • VAR OUT, Man!
    It just ain’t hittin’ the groove, baby…

    Trouble is, it is probably here to stay. So I suppose we had better get used to it.

    As for the rule changes? They will probably change yet again, sometime in the not so distant future.

    I can remember the days of goal-hanging and only 1 sub allowed. I remember all kinds of shit on a pitch… I always saw Grobbelaar (Liverpool goalkeeper) acting the clown when faced with a penalty, very bad sportsmanship. Others just found it funny… I can recall leg-breaking tackles that the ref would all but ignore. And some of us would just smile it away… What about Henrys handball assist for the Gallas goal v Ireland? Ruining Ireland’s chance of making the WC…VAR would’ve sorted that out for sure.

    Oh and Mendes ‘scoring’ that lobbed goal v United. It’s nil-nil in the last minute of the match… From just inside the halfway line he floats the ball high toward the Man U goal… MU keeper, Carroll runs back hastily to his goal-line and looks to have judged the flight of the ball perfectly. Only for the ball to get out of his grip, bounce off his chest, over his shoulder and so far over the goal-line it almost hits the back of the net. Carroll scoops it back onto the pitch and… NO GOAL! Everyone watching at home and in the stadium knew it should’ve counted… Apart from the officials that is. UNBELIEVABLE! The commentator exclaims… It was…

    Things do change though. And change can be good. But not always.

    VAR OUT! And, that’s my opinion, in spite of all that’s gone wrong before… Hold on… VAR IN! But only when it’s in Spurs favour, of course… HAHAHA!

    Here’s a thought about the new handball rule… How does the ref deal with (what to all watching) looks to be a deliberate effort from one player to aim the ball from close range, to an opposition players arm? And it hits their hand or arm? Does VAR suggest handball to the ref, simply because it was handball? Or, does VAR and then the ref use their own discretion and they just play on, giving the defender and the striker the benefit of any doubt? Does it now seem so black n white? I mean, how can you prove the strikers intention even after 5 minutes of replays from 3 different angles, even if looks obvious to us all watching? And if the defender Is punished and it results in a goal and a possible sending-off, is this plain and simple fair, when all and sundry believe it not to be? BlahBlahBlah!

    It’s just football… Simple game really… Or is it?

  • DH….100% with you there.

    Example of this VAR crap, in the U21’s game the other night, our man gets the ball dribble, dribbles around the defender and from an acute angle hits the post, up goes the delayed flag for offside, which was correct, he was o/s initially, but imagine if he had scored, up goes the arms and noise with jubilation from the fans only to be brought back down to earth with a massive bang, so basically for me it seems now the fans have to wait to see before they can cheer, taking away the real joy and instant furore, so not for me. COYS

  • What about grass-roots football in all of this?

    Whether it be Sunday morning men and women’s adult matches on the the Hackney Marshes or 7 year-olds on a park playing school football?

    Parents and onlookers with tablets and smart phones filming it all. Shoving their hand held layman’s version of VAR into an officials face when Beer-Belly Bob is a millimetre offside or, a young Damian or Matilda has stepped an inch off their goal-line when facing a penalty for what was a non-deliberate handball? Mummy and Daddy know the truth! Mrs Beer-Belly has it all recorded! FIGHT!

  • That’s a very good point HT, surely the rules/laws of the game should be able to be applied across the whole spectrum of matches whether that be world cups, CL matches, PL & EL matches, or ass you say right down to school level. How can this be done if/when rule/law changes are made to suit the introduction of VAR?

  • TQ….”How can this be done if/when rule/law changes are made to suit the introduction VAR?” = Vot Are Rules, simple really lol! COYS

  • Thanks TQ2. In my humour I was making exactly that point and I was serious about it. And, as Doncaster, yourself and others have pointed out, rule changes do seem to have been made to help VAR out. But I can only see it making many matters worse.

    I know that players will probably learn to mostly deal with it all and get used to the new rulings. But equally as so often is the case, new ways are then found to sidestep those rules and new problems are sometimes created from them.

    I do think that rules at the top of the game do have a significant effect on the game at the lower grassroots end of it. But right now I can’t honestly see how they can work well when without the use of VAR. (Or as we are already seeing, even with VAR in use there can still be controversy and anger about certain decisions).

    We will just have to see how it goes. But if Spurs lose a key match on a VAR aided call that is no better than that Mendes ‘ghost-goal’ farce, then what will be the point of it all. Except of course, goal-line technology would have seen us beat Man U that day. And I think that particular non-goal is actually what sparked the FA to introduce that technology anyway…. So, it’s swings and roundabouts… But that is now a simple thing to judge fairly. Hopefully VAR will improve enough soon to make it as worthy and as simple. (But, I can’t yet see that happening for myself)…

  • Goal-line technology is simple and foolproof. It works. That’s how VAR should be but some of the rules are still unclear. And so, as far as VAR is concerned, lot of things aren’t working and probably won’t work until the rules (handball for one) are also simplified to the extent where greater consistency is possible. It’s going to add a new and confusing dimension to next season! Gotta love football!! : – )

    • Sorry Ashley lost me, have I missed something?

      Fine folks of Vital Spurs, is this a staple like Match Threads that you prefer when it comes to what seems to be a nailed on transfer targets or something?

  • It has been quiet as far as transfer threads go this summer, perhaps Frank has convinced everyone that we won’t be doing any business again! :- )

  • VAR can be useful but like everything else in football it will bring a lot of controversy, it has already. The problem really isn’t VAR its the rules that are open for interpretation, so VAR only helps in these circumstances by allowing the ref to see the incident more times but the interpretation is still subjective. Its going to be good for clear incidences like offside goals, pushing and shoving if it is reviewed, some will still do it and get away with it, but if it leads to a goal and VAR is used then that pushing will rule goal out, but if it doesn’t lead to a goal then VAR probably want be used in sucnnjncidendes and players will get away with it unless ref sees it. The rules like handball has been controversial for ages and it will remain that way and VAR will not help too much other than bringjng it to refs attention, but what is a unnatural position of the arm. Surely the arms move according to the wag the player runs, turn, tackles, gets nudge, speed, too much room for interpretation. To me handball is if a player deliberately tries to stop the ball, not if the ball hits them. VAR for me is good form offside, pushing at corners and potential penalties from bad tackles, the rest not so sure, but the time it takes is mad. Ita like the passion is being taken out of the game. Do fans celebrate when there is a goal, or wait for the VAR. Ita like being booked for takinng your shirt off, why, i like to see mens bodies, that aside, it’s passion. Its here, so it will evolve over the coming seasons, but expect a lot of controversy this season.

    • Not sure what’s going on but if if what I’m now reading is correct levy still has not met the price for dembele….sun and mirror.
      Quotes from Lyon president to that effect.
      Oh well….just have to wait and see.

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