• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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VAR and its many controversies


The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in football has been one of the biggest discoveries and has helped to improve the quality and standard of the game. However, the technology has also brought the most controversial talking points in the game.

Since its debut in the 2019/20 English Premier League season, there has been contentious talking points highlighting critical errors made with VAR.

The last five games in this season’s Premier League campaign have seen four critical decisions being overlooked by VAR and football pundits are doubtful of the effectiveness of VAR in the English Premier League.

Here, we take a look at four talking points made by VAR.

Bournemouth vs. Manchester City

Manchester City midfielder, David Silva, should have been awarded a penalty after making contact with Jefferson Lerma in the penalty area. The city won the match 3-1.

Newcastle vs. Watford

The equalizer by Newcastle’s Fabian Schar, should have been disallowed due to a handball by Isaac Hayden. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

West Ham vs. Norwich City

West Ham forward, Sebastian Haller, should have been awarded a penalty following a foul committed by Tom Trybull. West Ham won 2-0.

Leicester City vs. Bournemouth

Leicester’s Youri Tielemans should have been sent off for a foul on Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. Leicester won 3-1.

Mike Riley, Premier League referees’ chief and the person responsible for overseeing the implementation of VAR in the Premier League, told stakeholders that while VAR had an overall positive start through four games this season, it hasn’t gone off without a hitch.

“There were four incidents where VAR did not intervene and had they done, we would have a better understanding of the role VAR plays in the game,” Riley said, according to Sky Sports News. “(The mistakes) are all about the judgment of VAR and the process that we adopt.”

According to Riley, some incorrect decisions should have been changed by VAR, while the other was completely missed by the official manning the VAR command center.

In total, there have been 227 incidents checked by VAR this season and six on-field decision changes.

“Out of the four-match rounds, there have been some really good examples where we have intervened,” Riley said.

“There have been six incidents where VAR has advised the referee and we have got a better decision as a result.”

Although the success rate of VAR in the Premier League has been far from perfect so far, four mistakes out of 230 reviews are not bad for a system that is been in place for all of a month.

However, some fans still point to high-profile incidents such as Harry Kane’s penalty appeal against Newcastle and Erik Lamela’s alleged foul on Rodri in the box against Manchester City as mistakes.

No doubt, the VAR technology is still a work in progress, especially in these very early stages. But VAR has come to stay in football and will get better in the coming games.