This weekend was the first time I watched a match that included VAR (Video Assisted Referee), and for the most part I was ok with it. Even after this weekends incidents I still am ok with it, however I know there are those of you that feel the sport doesn’t need to change and poor decisions are part of the game. Should we embrace VAR or continue to have poor refereeing?
A lot has already been discussed in the media about the Juan Mata incident; that it cost Manchester Untied a goal, which they didn’t really need in the end. Either way by the rules Mata was offside – in the IFAB Laws of the Game Part 11 it states:
A player is in an offside position if the feet head or body is nearest to the opponents goal line then both the ball and the second-last opponent.
Arms and hands are not considered
So we can all agree in the Juan Mata case the VAR was correct by the letter of the law. End of debate right?
Unfortunately I feel this is not the end of the debate, it’s more a question of whether people want this change to happen, and in my humble opinion this is where the problem lies. Pundits and media outlets love heated debates and furious fans add fuel to the fire by calling in radio programmes to air their grievances against refereeing decisions. It seems football media is based more on controversy than the actual sport – for example BT Sport spent 20 minutes after the match talking about the Mata decision when technically there was no discussion to be had! Unfortunately BT sport are the worst for this type of fan baiting, they have Graham Poll judging games like a football pundit… I think this is pointless, you do not get this in any other sport.
You take the controversy out of the sport and what is left to talk about? Believe it or not I’ve heard and seen ex players and pundits say that, and the answer would be, errrr, the sport!
VAR looks to be spot on judging on its performances thus far – the time it takes to get to any decision will speed up over time, that’s the beauty of trialing this system – we can iron out any problems before it eventually gets brought in to the Premier League.
I would sooner wait an extra couple of seconds/minutes during a game for the correct decision to be made than have unfair calls continue to plague the sport and cause significant consequences. VAR is going to be great and it’s here to stay!