Let’s talk about the main areas that the game has changed massively because of VAR and see if there are solutions to the current mess.
Offside has never been more of a talking point yet we now have technology to prove that this shouldn’t be a debate. Right now the referees in the studio start drawing their lines to the millimetre, an arm pit can be offside. Is this really football. If you spoke to most fans they would say to you that the lines are too thin and that the officials look to closely into the millimetres. Don’t get me wrong VAR has helped to bring clarity to the obvious decisions that might not have been given and in football the reality is that it could have led to a goal. Most of these reviews have come from goals scored and by the law if its offside its offside there should be no debate.
My solution not only comes down to the technology but it also comes down to the law of football itself, firstly I would thicken the lines and make every offside decision based on where your furthest foot is planted. If it’s too close to call then the advantage should go to the attacking team to make the game more interesting! Fans pay money to see goals, fans want to be entertained! The harder you make it to score the less attracted people will be to watch football, every none football fan I’ve watched football with hates a 0-0 game even if its end to end but if its 2-1 but the game was terrible they normally get over it.
Next on the agenda should be fouling, every foul looks worse when you re-watch it or slow it down, if the referee gets it wrong in the moment then this is where VAR has the potential to be great. We want to see referees get more involved with overturning decisions. Currently unless it’s a red card the assistant refs at the VAR studio can’t get involved. We don’t expect every decision to be right but with the technology it can be, more interaction by the monitors can save this debate. But when does it become too much and the constant stoppage of play break the momentum of the game. We have seen plenty of red cards dished out after review so it does prove that the technology can work.
To get the most out of VAR from a tackling perspective the studio should be given more power, a referee is not being undermined if the decision can be reviewed and corrected this wastes no time for the referee and then fans will see justice for situations that need to be pulled back. For many years referees have played the advantage in certain situations and came back to hand out yellow cards why should this be any different if a foul is not give but should have been. When a player is on a yellow card it changes their outlook on the game, they have to calm down or be more dillgent so it’s a necessity to review yellow cards as much as reds.
How is it that at the big tournaments it works perfectly fine but in the premier league it goes horribly wrong? Most would say that the 2018 World Cup saw more penalties and free kicks then ever before because of VAR but in terms of decision making the technology was working perfectly! Referees went to the monitor and offsides used an element of common sense, linemans where still encourage to put their flag up if it was an obvious decision. Then again at Euro 2020 there was no clear and obvious mistake from VAR, the only argument was that the offside flag was not going up quick enough even though it was blatantly offside, this meant that teams carried on for a conclusion which frustrated many fans and commentators! Are we being too strict when we go back to our domestic games or do we notice it more because there are more games more regularly so it’s a numbers game. Something has to be done.
Can we celebrate goals like we used too!
Speaking from my own perspective I never truly celebrate a goal like I used too, too many times I’ve got over excited about a goal and it’s been disallowed. This is one element that I really hate about VAR and I don’t think there is any way to get over that in football, unfortunately we will never get that feeling back until we take the technology away!
In summary VAR can be amazing and its definitely a working progress, for example seeing referees going over to the monitor more to re-evaluate their decision is very important. The more we learn the better the technology can be, the successful World Cup and Euros should pave the way for the premier league. Here’s to hoping for less controversial decisions!
Please leave your comments as I’d love to know what you would change!! Or should it be scrapped altogether.