The video assistant referee (VAR) has proven highly controversial since its introduction in FIFA's Laws of the Game in 2018, after years of calls for video to be used. Has it helped make football fairer or is it destroying the spectacle of the beautiful game?
Yes. It is a net positive to the gameShow moreShow less
VAR makes the game better and thus should continue to be used
VAR stands for Video assistance referee and is a new way technology is used to help football referees on the field when they make decisions. They are mainly used for determining goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards or mistaken identity incidents. The video footage helps the referee to take a decision after viewing the video material. Anyhow, the use of VAR is controversially discussed as it could potentially underpin the role of the referee on the field.
VAR is a crucial tool to enhance the capabilities of the referees on the pitch to assess a situation. A traditional referee has to be highly mobile on the pitch to be able to see what is happening between the players. However, it is a physically demanding task that impairs his ability to see everything, given that he only has one pair of eyes to oversee an area of 7140 m². Additionally, he can only ever focus on one situation at the same time which prevents him from being able to see all possible mistakes that are made by the players.
VAR is a good technology to help the referee identify more mistakes and with more proof. It captures incidents from different angles and allows for them to be replayed, even at different speeds. This allows a better fact-driven assessment of decisive situations that would otherwise create unnecessary controversy. The referee can back his decisions and the latter become more transparent.
VAR is not necessarily able to correct all the possible mistakes of the referee on the pitch. It has a margin error of up to 38,8cm (14 inches) which proves that it is less effective than its proponents claim. It doesn’t allow for fully certain decision making due to the possibility of multiple interpretations. The interpretations of the referee can then again be seen as mistakes.
VAR will decrease the mistakes that are made by referees.