It’s about time we spoke about the topic of the World Cup… VAR.
Having fallen in love with the excitement and fast pace of the beautiful game, I was originally disgusted at the thought of VAR coming in and slowing it down. I was so against the idea that I probably could have been described as personally offended.
The World Cup kicked off and instantly, the headlines were about the new technology.
Picking my toys up and putting them back in my pram, I gave it a fair chance and decided that it’s a good idea, even if the system is currently flawed and needs more testing. Here are my current thoughts…
The Argument For
VAR has the ability to stop so many incorrect decisions in games when implemented correctly, as well as cutting out diving. People originally argued against goal line technology, and while us football fans can be stubborn in our ways, I now can’t imagine the game without it. VAR could be the same should the issues be ironed out. After all, it’s technically all still the referee’s decision to go to VAR, just with the option for a slow-mo replay or three. It’s also definitely made a few boring games a lot more exciting.
The Argument Against
There’s a lot of stopping and starting, slowing the pace down which is my main issue. Fans don’t know whether to celebrate a goal or not, and having a 2 minute wait between the ball hitting the back of the net and celebrating just isn’t the same. It also doesn’t eliminate mistakes, as demonstrated by Iran’s late penalty against Portugal, which was never an intentional hand ball. In addition, it puts players off tackling in the box for the fear of being penalised for contact… with slow motion replays making any contact look worse than it was.
Football has always seen some decisions go your way and others do the opposite, and while it’s awful when it doesn’t go in your favour… it wasn’t something I felt needed fixing.
The Changes I’d Make
Rules for players – Players shouldn’t be able to surround the referee or mime the VAR sign. Just as with miming giving a card, players should be booked for dissent and shouldn’t be trying to pressure referees into making any decision.
Pause the clock for VAR time – There has definitely been time used which hasn’t been added on realistically to extra time this World Cup.
There are still many questions to be answered… should Captains have a set number of times to go to VAR per game? Will it make an appearance in the Premier League any time soon? Could a VAR blunder in the final stages of the World Cup see the technology disappear? Only time will tell.
Until next time,