VAR has been the most revolutionary technological change that the beautiful game has ever seen. Modern football has evolved into a very fast game making it difficult for referees to take the right decision every single time. Errors in today's game have far-reaching consequences. A player and an entire team's fate is decided by the referee. Nations and Clubs have lost countless World Cups and Champions League trophies all due to a single bad decision by the referee.
In today's society, technology has made it possible to achieve an error-free world. It is only logical us to try to achieve the same result in football. Here are some reasons why football needs to adopt VAR.
Being a referee is a professional where a single decision from you alter the outcome of a match, a tournament, and probably someone’s career. With the money at stake these days in the game, one simply cannot afford wrong decisions to decide football matches. Ultimately one cannot forget that referees are humans, who are bound to make mistakes. While it’s easy to criticise the officials on seeing multiple replays, it cannot be easy to make a decision on real-time view in a split second. In order to avoid such mistakes having the assistance of technology is the best solution
Another big complaint about referees of late has been the lack of a unity in decisions they make. There have been multiple instances of double standards by officials. Observations have shown a similar foul getting a different treatment in a different match. Largely, it is understandable as each referee is bound to see things in a dissimilar view. Here is where VAR could be an important addition. The same system in practice across the league will bring consistency.
A major problem that football faces at the moment are of diving. Players are increasingly going down without contact in the penalty box. The purpose behind it is to manipulate referees in order to win a penalty. While referees should be aware to not fall into the trap, in reality, its impossible to always spot dives. The use of technology and review with VAR has the potential of completely eliminating diving. Though nothing can be done if a player decides to fall, replays will show their unfair act and ensure the player doesn’t gain the advantage he aspires to.
Why is there resistance?
A system that promises to eradicate wrong referee decisions should ideally have universal acceptance. But, that isn’t the case for VAR. While it does enjoy considerable support in the football community, a lot of fans and pundits are quite reluctant to it. The question arises, why is the resistance?
Flow of the game
The beauty of football lies in how fast a game it is. Many love the game for the nonstop action it brings. Clearly, the use of VAR is going to disrupt that aspect of the game. In order to use the system, there will be halts at various times. Frequent stoppages do not appeal to traditionalists of the game for obvious reasons.
What have we already learned
With VAR’s implementation is various matches across the world, there are already lessons to take note of. The introduction of such a system requires constant tweaks and improvements to make it better to use. Here are few things for FIFA to look at
Referee’s need to wait to blow whistle for offside decisions
One of the major aspects that VAR aims to correct is offside calls. It is also the easiest decision to correct as there is no scope of different opinions. While the system will perfectly when an offside call is not given by the referee. In such a situation it is very easy to call to go back and call the decision offside. But the catch comes in a reverse scenario, where the flag is raised in a wrong situation. While VAR can show the decision was wrong, the play would already in stopped and leaving the attacking team with no opportunity to score a goal. In order to correct this, referees need to aware and be given an instruction to only blow the whistle once the whistle is blown.
Show the replay on the big screen
A big complaint from people inside the stadium has been that it creates confusion inside the system. Many times VAR is called into action a few seconds after the action debate took place. With no replays being shown on the stadium’s big screen, there is no way for fans to know what is happening. This creates a situation of unease and annoyance around the stadium. To avoid this the officials must allow the replays to be shown on the screen. In no way, a scenario must be created where the fans are not happy.
Referees must be brave to change a decision
The protocol of VAR says a decision must only be overturned if “There is an obvious mistake” from a referee. While the referee’s authority must be given respect it should not be something to be afraid of. VAR must be used whenever there is a visible mistake. The people in charge of the technology must be brave enough to overturn the decision. Unless that is done, the system will barely a serve a purpose.
What is the conclusion
The truth is football needs VAR more than ever. Across the sporting world the use of technology in sports like Tennis, Cricket and Hockey has been a positive change. The use of technology took a lot of time to evolve and become a perfect system. So will VAR in football. The key is to keep learning from mistakes to improve the process.
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