The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was intended to reduce human error in football. This technological revolution in football was initially hailed, but now VAR is facing criticism from fans and coaches due to its flaws in making decisions.
This weekend was marred by controversial decisions in which several goals were overturned due to the intervention of VAR during Premier League matches.
In a match between Newcastle and Crystal Palace on Saturday, Eddie Howe’s men were denied a potential match-winning goal after Tyrick Mitchell’s own goal was disallowed.
The possible match-winner goal of Newcastle was overturned after VAR reviewed that Joe Willock had fouled Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita in the build-up.
VAR also took centre stage during Chelsea and West Ham’s intriguing fixture. The Hammers, who were trailing by a goal, were left fuming after Maxwel Cornet’s goal was cancelled as it was reviewed that Jarrod Bowen had fouled Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the build-up.
Following this controversial decision, West Ham’s Declan Rice said:
“one of the worst VAR decisions since it came into the game”.
How VAR Is Ruining Football?
Football was always meant to be a fast-paced, uninterrupted affair, but the intervention of VAR in games has killed the game’s momentum. The time match officials take to review a possible foul or offsides is taking very long, thus destroying the effectiveness of gameplay. This has also affected total playing game time as the first and second half have increased with an average of 30-120 seconds depending on the intervention of VAR.
Fans and coaches are condemning VAR for its biased decisions during fixtures; for instance, on Sunday, Arsenal fans were left with a sour taste after VAR overturned Gabriel Martinelli’s first-half goal. VAR was criticised for its ‘soft’ decision after Martin Odegaard dispossessed Christian Eriksen. Since VAR was implemented to avoid “injustices” and false judgements, it is still failing to reduce human errors through its biased decisions.
The use of VAR has reduced referees’ decisions during matches since the officials now rely more on using technology. This affects the effectiveness of the referees when officiating since one will depend on VAR to check a possible foul. Apart from that, the use of VAR has also ruined the confidence of the referees when handling matches since one will feel external pressure in making any decision(s) since VAR will be used to reverse a decision.