The FA have announced that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is coming to the Premier League! But not in the way you might think. This is a fifteen game trial which will begin with the five 3pm Saturday games after the international break and the actual assistant will not have any contact with any of the on-field officials. This begs the question whether this will be a genuine benefit to the league, or whether it will merely add another talking point to an already controversial topic.
The underlying error with this trial is that the VAR has no impact on the game. So if a review would have been issued, this would not occur on the pitch, instead it would just be communicated that a review would have occurred on a particular incident. Clearly this would just add more fuel to the fire over what would already be a contentious issue. Angry fans would become even more incensed at the fact that the technology was there, but not implemented.
However, is it fair that the technology would have been implemented in these specific games, but not available for every one? The solution is obviously to introduce and have VAR available for every Premier League match, but that ship sailed at that start of the season when its introduction was not unanimously accepted by the clubs. The manner in which reviews are communicated to fans in the stadium is the main worry for clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester United who both voted against its introduction according to Pep Guardiola.
It is important to remember though that VAR itself still has teething problems, many of which were evident in the World Cup with the higher than average number of penalties awarded and some decisions taking much longer than necessary. Also, the inconsistency amongst the VARs is a cause for concern and are these are some of the reasons why the trial may be needed in the first place.
But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture here. VAR is a crucial tool for referees in order to keep up with the pace of the modern game and absolutely everything should be done to ensure its introduction to the Premier League as soon as possible, even if it does mean allowing this seemingly absurd trial to take place.
Is this trial necessary for VAR’s introduction the Premier League, or is VAR even necessary at all? Let us know by commenting, or tweet us @AllOutFootball_ and use the #AOF