The Debate for VAR; Why Not?

Image Credit: Sky Sports

The 2018 FIFA World Cup gave us a great opportunity to see VAR in action at the highest level. It was deemed to be a success at the World Cup and despite a few controversial calls, it appeared to be of great assistance to the referees. However, the Premier League and other major club competitions such as the UEFA Champions League are still holding back. So, here’s why VAR is an absolute must in the Premier League for the 2019/20 season. 

Last season, ESPN worked with Intel to create the Premier League Luck Index which combines nine factors, regarding referee decisions, to see what the league table should’ve looked like with better decisions and the results were astonishing. The data displayed that Liverpool (12), Arsenal (8) and Brighton (6) lost a total of 26 points between the 3 of them on incorrect decisions. At the other end of the spectrum Leicester (7), Manchester United (6)and Bournemouth (6) gained an incorrectly awarded 19 points between them. In total, the index suggests that the Premier League table from last season was wrong by a shocking 75 points. Surely, the implementation of VAR would solve that?

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France win a penalty in their World Cup final triumph thanks to VAR (Sports Illustrated_

At the World Cup, VAR was a huge success and it was able to disallow goals that shouldn’t have been awarded, correct the referee’s initial decisions on penalties and have a better view of potential red card incidents. It was estimated that 99.3% of match-influencing decisions made by VAR were correct at the World Cup and without the use of the technology, the figure would’ve been closer to 95%. 335 incidents were reviewed by the VAR team with 17 being officially checked by the on-field referee. 14 of those were overturned, the remaining three were upheld. This either indicates to us that the FIFA referees aren’t good at their job or that VAR helps to eliminate the inevitable human error. The latter seems more likely given that FIFA selects the best performing referees.

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VAR was trialled during the FA Cup last season, time for the next step? (101 Great Goals)

Is there any reason not to implement the system into the Premier League? So many complaints are made about the standard of refereeing in England yet many argue that VAR would ruin the game. The argument that VAR takes away the flow or traditional feeling from football is completely invalid. There is no longer a traditional flow in modern-day football, a referee already makes a decision every 22 seconds with players constantly going to ground for free-kicks. It’s also important to remember that VAR isn’t a person, it’s a TV monitor that shows replays to a crew who then advise the referee whether it’s worth them taking a look at the incident or not. VAR relies on a good standard of refereeing, and although that isn’t necessarily the current situation in England, perhaps the slow-motion replay would help them.

So let us know what your thoughts are about VAR, what are the arguments for and against its implementation? The constant incorrect decisions would surely be reduced with VAR so why not? Tweet us @AllOutFootball_ to have your say on the debate using #AOF.