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?”

  • Judging by the quotes from the Lyon president, then it’s the journalists and media outlets that also don’t know what is going on with the N’Dombele deal, 62. Seeing as it’s been widely reported that the deal has virtually been finalised.

    And here we are yet again as supporters jumping the gun by believing all that we read but on the words of reporters that write with the authority of knowing something as factual that so often isn’t. Why do we fall for it every time. Surely us supporters should’ve wised up by now?

    If/when the deal does actually happen, then great… We can all start to hype up an expensive new Spurs signing. Only then to cruelly knock him down when he makes his first mistake in a Spurs shirt. (Oh I am a cynical so and so!)

    … Sticking with this thread, it was good to see no VAR controversy last night in the England v Norway match… There was a clear handball in the penalty area from the England player Stokes but the ref let it go without referring to VAR. It was obviously accidental, as the ball ricocheted fast off her leg to hit her arm. But, I am certain that the new ruling could’ve easily see that as a hand ball from some other refs. So, I’m none the wiser about the new rule, even though it was clearly a fair decision to ignore it and play on…

    Congratulations to the England Lassies anyway. It was a very good 3-0 winning performance and they are now in the semi-final…

  • HT …. I didn’t watch all of the game yesterday and missed the handball you mentioned. It’s encouraging that the ref played on.

    France v USA should be a top match today. They’ve both got some good players and they can both play attacking football.

  • The problem is that too many incidents require var in the first place. Solution is to scrap the penalty box to stop diving and playing for handball. The incentive is too big and why have an arbitrary area in the first place when an incident out wide or near the goal line carries the same outcome as one directly in front of goal. Too many penalties are given when the threat to score is minimal.

  • LT …. Does it carry the same outcome? If a player is inside the box he is much closer to goal and has a much greater chance of scoring than from outside the box. It follows that he severity of the offence is greater. I assume the rules were therefore adjusted to compensate for this. I have no problem with that. It all comes back to sensible and consistent refereeing.

    • Hi Geoff. Great articles BTW. Having an arbitrary line creates the opportunity for controversy when the decision can effectively decide a game. You know how you feel when your team concedes a penalty when the threat to goal is minimal. Without penalties, decisions would not be so hotly disputed and maybe var would be less needed and confined to factual things like offside.

  • Another change I would consider would be to stop goalies catching or picking the ball up. Kick, palm or punch only to cut out time wasting and keep the game flowing. Let them handle anywhere in their own half. Save paint on penalty and six yard lines.

  • LT, penalty decisions can work both ways. In that defenders will often risk bringing a player down if he is concerned about giving them a goal by not making a challenge. It’s not just a case of attackers seeking an advantage by diving etc.

    If there were no penalty area and therefore no penalties, then that would still mean a free-kick if a player has been fouled. Thing is that because that free kick can now be defended close to goal by the entire defending team then the advantage will always be with the offending, defending team. And this could see them preventing goalscoring opportunities by fouling all the more often. Knowing that they can take a risk that is less dangerous to them than giving away a one-on-one penalty as is now the case, of course…

    Surely there has to remain a boundary around the goal (as in a penalty area.) If not then the whole game of football as we have known it for over a century is then completely changed. It would cause so many more problems than we have ever been accustomed to. A foul is a foul and is a penalty in that given area. I have never seen this as a bad idea. And where on the pitch does a goalkeeper handling the ball then become an offence, a foul. Or does that ruling also get taken away along with the penalty area?

  • Ah, you answered my goalie question whilst I was writing… That would make the game a version of handball crossed with football. But only for two players on the pitch!

  • Why not just decide a game by the toss of a coin (maybe two out of three?). VAR could still be useful to determine if the coin tosser was interfered with. Supporters would be entertained and excited by the results of each toss …. and because the match wouldn’t last so long there would be more time to make use of the bar facilities. Just a thought!

    • Great comment, Geof. Let’s go straight to the penalty shootout at the start of the match, but decide each penalty shot by a toss of a coin. It’s much like the present reality for the GK guessing which direction to go as the shot is taken. it’s more or less a coin toss now.

  • LOL, Geof… HAHA!

    I remember a while back the American football (soccer) chiefs coming up with a few ideas for radical changes to the game. I think that dividing the game into quarters was one. (Probably in order to get more commercial breaks into the televised game). Another was to increase the size of the goal. Obviously to give a bigger target for the striker and hopefully we see more goals. Surely that would just mean (for a player like Sissoko) missing by just a little less of a margin… My solution as a manager would’ve been to seek out and to breed much bigger goalkeepers!

    LT, if you can come up with just one more radical change to the game of football as we know it, to add to the first two you have suggested, then you would have invented an entirely new sport all together… Go for it. I’m in!

  • Like i said, restrict the goalie to handling but not holding the ball in their own half. Can’t see many wanting to leave their goal unattended. And yes Geoff, highly defended free kicks is preferable imo to dubious spot kicks deciding games. My point here is to make the game easier to referee and less open to cheating and subjectivity. Change is not a four letter word.

  • Happy to include you on the patent HT :). I defy anyone to defend a situation where a handball just inside the box close to the out of play line carries the same threat to goal as a handball on the goalline itself. Yet both can result in a deciding goal from the spot. Ridiculous. Want my other hobby-horse? Red cards! Plenty of other options to penalise teams without spoiling the game for spectators.

  • Those who wish to cheat will just find new ways of cheating. Just as major criminals have stopped robbing banks at gunpoint and have moved into cyber crime or whatever. That’s a joke…

    Fouls will still be committed all over the pitch. Players will find new ways of gaining advantage and VAR will have its work cut out having less boundaries on the pitch to work within. I honestly can’t see the need or benefit in any of these changes …

  • LT …. Interesting comment re red cards. I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe a ‘sin bin’ for a period? Currently, if a player gets red carded in the first ten minutes or so the game could be virtually over as a contest. That’s not good for the game so you have a very good point.

    • More or less what is done in ice hockey. two minutes in the penalty box or five minutes, depending on severity of infraction. Could make these ten minutes and 20 minutes periods in a penalty box.

  • I also agree with a change of sorts to red (and yellow) cards. Especially the point that LOZ made earlier about players being booked for the harmless goal celebration of removing their shirt. It means a player could be sent off if he slipped up with this twice… Not that I have seen that happen…

    Sin bins do sound good to me Geof. But the cynic in me can see certain players who are maybe feeling a bit knackered, deliberately fouling in order to have a little rest…. Not at Spurs of course. Our lot are far too hardworking and dedicated for that… LOL

  • Golf has not been afraid to embrace change. For example: ‘Alternative to Stroke and Distance: A new Local Rule will now be available in January 2019, permitting committees to allow golfers the option to drop the ball in the vicinity of where the ball is lost or out of bounds (including the nearest fairway area), under a two-stroke penalty.’ No provisionals, speeds the game up – great! My chums and I have been doing this for years on our annual Tenerife tour. It doesn’t change the fundamentals of the game and neither do any of the changes to football that I have suggested.

  • LT, I do get why you may feel the need for certain changes to the game if it means improvement. I just don’t see it in the same way as yourself. An d, I do think that you would have changed the fundamentals quite a lot the way I envisage your suggestions. Nothing wrong of course for you to be thinking outside of the box. (Pun intended)…

    I think football has embraced change a lot since I first started playing 50 years or so ago. There have been many, many changes. Technically, tactically, physically and with the rules… We have just seen radical new changes over the past couple of years. Whether we agree with them or not is a subjective thing…

  • The biggest change HT is the level of scrutiny technology has introduced making the on field refereeing so controversial. But maybe it is controversy that the authorities want. Is that why the game is so popular? But you are right, change is not always for the better. I’m still fuming that Subutteo changed from flat celluloid to 3d plastic players. 🙂

  • Can’t help feeling this new game your devising between you should have a name that somehow incorporates the words from your Vital names i.e. ‘Hot Totty’. 🙂

  • Ht and Geof….not saying any report is right or wrong.. just that the quoted are all over.
    SSN reported agreement was reached,was just wondering.
    Fingers crossed….coys

    • Are we entering a classic Levy transfer saga with Lyon over Ndombele, the deal is following the established pattern that we have seen soo many times before. We see reports that we have finally decided to become part of 21st century top class football, and enter the transfer market, and then nothing. Apparently there is no love lost between Levy and the Lyon club president, this becomes somewhat of a shock, fancy somebody struggling to get on with Levy, I never heard such a thing. Now I fully expect that in 2 or 3 days the collapse of the deal will be announced. The deal for the young lad from Leeds at £8-10M is right up Levy’s Street, but the Lyon deal always looked to be out of his league, and it now likes like following the same “nearly transfer” pattern as so many in the past, shades of Willian and others. We try and satisfy a champagne taste in potential signings with a lemonade budget. Now Zaha has told Palace he wants to leave for another London club, let’s see how much interest we show in that one.

      • Frank it seems SSN jumped the gun.lyon president in yesterday’s press conference said levy bid ,45m Euro and no other bid made and after eight more days no less than 72m will needs to get it over the line.
        Poch in an interview with the Spanish news doesn’t sound all that pleased by half.
        All too familiar with the style

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