Editorial

How do you solve a problem like VAR?

photo credit: Hindrik S Retro Photography via photopin (license)

It all started quite positively, the first VAR goal in English football coming with a smile and a flourish from referee John Moss in Leicester’s 3rd round FA Cup replay against Fleetwood


Iheanacho does appear to be onside, but the decision was marginal enough to open up the process to fresh scrutiny and criticism.


The scope of VRA began to be called into question quickly, with some decisions referred and others ignored.


A month later, VAR momentarily imploded.


Luckily for VAR, United didn’t need the goal. If this decision had affected the result, the technology would have even more serious questions hanging over it.

The wobble, the new lines not matching with lines on the pitch…these were horrible mistakes.

Ridicule followed.


Hawk-Eye felt moved to apologise and insist the images shown were not those used to disallow the goal, which didn’t really help.

The most recent controversy was just as baffling in its own way.


Again, because the affected side managed to qualify with room to spare, Spurs thumping Rochdale 6-1, they felt able to joke about it.


VAR is a hot topic globally ahead of the World Cup, with the system confirmed for Russia over the past few days, and enthusiasts believe the Premier League should also adopt as quickly as possible.


VAR may be experiencing teething problems, but the lack of communication with fans needs to be resolved – frankly, if rugby TMO decisions can be played on big screens, football should as well.

If doing so causes more confusion, delay, hostility in the crowd, etc., then maybe football needs to take another look. Nobody ever thought this would be easy.

Beyond that, there are many unintended consequences…


Roll on the World Cup and late rounds of the FA Cup. They should be interesting.

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