After a number of heated exchanges on the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo has seen red in his first ever Champions League appearance for Juventus.
Many incidents come to mind when a wrong decision made by the referee has caused controversy and arguments as to whether the Video Assistant Referee should be called into action.
Frank Lampard’s goal in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup and Sulley Muntari’s ‘phantom goal’ against Juventus back in 2012 in an Italian league game are examples of poor refereeing. Offside calls are always debated, especially in the big games where an inch is the difference between a goal being wrongly disallowed, which of course changes the outcome of a game.
Recently, FIFA have trialled the new VAR system which allows the referee to refer to his watch which is connected to the video review to determine the correct decision. As well as experimenting with it at international youth tournaments, this year’s FIFA Confederations Cup was the first real big tournament that it was used.
It’s fair to say that it was a shambles, with clear incidents still not being picked up on which only frustrates teams and supporters.
The beautiful game of ours has been running for about 150 years now and people enjoy it because it is simple to play with hardly no interruptions. The running of the sport has been fine, so the VAR for me is not necessary.
The referee has first preference as to when he can use the new technology. As we know, there are many events that happen during a game of football which forces the ref to make a quick decision. Making a split second decision shouldn’t result in a problem if they are keeping up with the game and using their other officials to help them with making the correct call.
It will only slow the game down which means the flow of matches will be non-existent. Referring to the video constantly for offsides, penalty decisions and red cards will make the game boring to view, which is what football’s governing body needs to be mindful of.
In the Confederations Cup this year, I think everyone can agree that it took far too long for the referees to determine the correct decision. This makes fans inside the stadium and watching at home impatient, because all they want to see is a game of football being played between two teams fighting for a win.
It’s not just the pace of the game that I don’t particularly prefer.
After a game when a bad decision has been made, it brings up interesting talking points for pundits and fans to discuss and argue about which is one of the beauties of our game. It allows for people to come together and express their own thoughts on an event that has happened, sparking excitement and intrigue.
The only rule change that has been worthwhile is the goalkeeper picking up the ball from a back pass to help not waste time and keep the game moving. The introduction of the video review system will only do the opposite of that.
I respect FIFA’s commitment and enthusiasm in trying to make the game more fair and enjoyable for everyone involved. Unfortunately though, this review system is set up to cause more harm than good.
There’s nothing wrong with the game we love, so don’t change it if it doesn’t need to be fixed.