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VAR: Football fans have created a monster

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Roar Guru
4 days ago

The only thing more boring than the ongoing whinging about VAR was the whinging about referees before VAR, hence we have VAR.

At the end of the day, VAR gets most things technically correct. It stops howlers. It surprisingly generates unexpected goals.

VAR does not intervene in most goals. VAR adds tremendous theatre to an already incredibly entertaining league. So what’s the problem?

The main issue with VAR is the offside rule. Putting an imaginary line that isn’t reliable or convincing is probably not the way to go. Remember it has to be clear and obvious for VAR to intervene as well.

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The solution to this is simple. If it’s not clear to the naked eye on VAR if its offside or not, then stick with the decision on the field. It should be one still frame that is looked at. Once VAR has a look if it’s not obvious then allow the original decision, whatever it was, to stand.

Taking forever to decide on something that isn’t subjective, like if someone is in an offside position, is what annoys fans.

Whether they interfere or not is a subjective matter. That again shouldn’t take too long to decide.

Perhaps put a time limit on how long VAR has to make a decision, and if the referee goes to the screen, give them a time limit too. If they can’t decide within that time, stick to the decision on the field. Simple.

Match referee Adam Kersey views the VAR review

(Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Fans, players and coaches ask for one thing: consistency. It is an impossible ask in a game of interpretations, opinions and of course emotions. The only way to get any form of consistency is to apply the letter of the law, no matter how ignorant people are to it.

VAR makes mistakes but rarely. Most decisions to intervene (or in some cases not) have proven to be correct per the laws of the game. That is exactly how it’s supposed to be.

The other side of the VAR argument that is put forward is that it stops players enjoying the exuberance of the moment. Most goals are not interrupted by VAR. Most are awarded correctly and checked while players celebrate and return to halfway.


Occasionally some players may miss out but that is because they aren’t convinced it was a goal. So when VAR says it is, I am sure most are happy to take it without the celebration than have it ruled out in the first place.

Some fans love VAR while many don’t. It creates excitement and gives them hope, even if it’s false hope, but at least it gives them the roller coaster of emotion we are looking for when we enjoy sport. It’s an adrenaline rush, which is what sport is all about.

I wait in hope and anticipation if my team isn’t awarded a penalty when it looks like an infringement has been awarded in the box but the referee in the middle waves it away. That excitement is fantastic. The pure joy when VAR intervenes is fantastic. The disappointment is annoying. But that is football.

It also means fans don’t get robbed if something is so blatantly wrong. If it’s a 50-50 call, you live with it. But blatantly wrong calls – clear and obvious – are what make fans die wondering. That is all but eliminated now with VAR.


(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)


Ireland would have loved to have it during the 2010 World Cup qualifier against France. The Newcastle Jets would have loved for it to be working in the 2017-18 A-League grand final against the Melbourne Victory.

Kosta Barbarouses’ goal in the ninth minute of the game came about via a header from James Donachie, however Donachie was offside when Leroy George took the free kick, which Donachie passed to Barbarouses.

The game’s video assistant referee (VAR) system failed to detect Donachie’s offside position as its video feed had failed in the 30 seconds leading up to the goal.

Sport is fun and entertainment, nothing that fans should take too seriously. Enjoy it and what comes with it.

VAR adds to the theatre, gives us more bang for our buck. It also gives fans an excuse to vent. Most people that complain about VAR just want something to whinge about. VAR gives them this. That is the irony of it all.

We, the fans, created VAR. Let’s accept it and move on.