So VAR, So Good? Is Video Assistant Referee Systems Helping?3 min read

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Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.

To many, the FA Cup is the ultimate showcase of British footballing tradition. There’s nothing like watching Jurgen Klopp giving an interview in a tea room in Exeter, or Jose Mourinho crammed into a small Yeovil dugout. It can, and does, provide upsets like no other competition.

It is ironic, then, that the hugely controversial VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system is being tried out extensively in the FA Cup. In its six games in English football so far, it has contributed to a number of decisions, such as instating a goal for Kelechi Iheanacho when the Leicester striker initially had an effort ruled out for offside. There was an infinite number of perspectives on VARs use, and these games have created just as many questions as it has answered.

The most controversial game of the Fourth Round was undoubtedly between Liverpool and West Brom. Won 3-2 by the latter, VAR was used to rule out and confirm West Brom ‘goals’, and award Liverpool a penalty. Although not many would argue against the final decisions that were made, complaints about the delay in making decisions, was widespread. This was especially obvious in the awarding of the Liverpool penalty, when referee Craig Dawson made contact with VAR before heading to a pitch side monitor to see the action himself. This delayed the game by a whole 3 minutes and is exactly what those against VAR don’t want.

What bemuses me here is why Dawson felt the need to view the incident himself. Isn’t the point of VAR an ‘assistant’, who’s judgement should be more informed as they have time to review the incident? The need for a referee to question the VAR decision only means that they don’t trust the judgement made by another qualified referee. The always be huge if the on-field referee continues to have the option of consulting a pitch-side screen?

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Charlie Widdicombe

Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.

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