The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was introduced back in 2016, as friendlies occurred for trial runs. It wasn’t until 2017 in which the A-League in Australia became the first league to use the VAR system season, and since then, it’s been expanded to leagues and competitions across the globe.
When developing the VAR system its intentions were to serve as a backup referee, in case anything was missed by the referee such as an offsides calls, disciplines, the ball going out of bounce that leads to a goal, etc. This system is supposed to assist the referees to call a fair game with little to no mistakes. Many fans would be in favor of this; however, not all football fans are happy about it now, according to a survey, only 26% support the use of VAR.
A table was recreated for the 2021/22 Premiere League season if the VAR wasn’t part of the competition and you can see how some teams move up and down the table. These points are critical to some teams as it may cost them money, a spot in European competition or even relegation. Without the use of VAR in the 2021/22 season, Arsenal would’ve been in Champions Leagues the following season, and have Leeds relegated.
Thus, you can see how some fans might not be big fans of VAR, especially when their team is the one whose results are significantly impacted by VAR decisions in games. Fans also say that it delays the game which makes it less enjoyable.
"They (the fans) are not happy about how long it takes for decisions to be made, particularly if they are in stadiums. And, on top of that, they are not happy about how those decisions are communicated", stated in an article by The Guardian.
Scoring a goal nowadays might leave fans and even players to hold on to their celebration as referees discuss the play with VAR officials, these decisions may take anywhere from a few seconds to minutes, and it’s another component that fans aren’t enjoying much.
Nevertheless, my biggest issue is when officials have the ability to use the VAR system and decide not to use it, making the presence of all those cameras and the ability to review a play seemingly pointless.
I believe the game should be called just based on the human naked eye, yes referees will make mistakes but it's part of the game, and it’s what makes historical moments such as Frank Lampard's shot in the 2010 World Cup against Germany, or Diego Maradona's Hand of God which lead them past England. It’s moments like these that last forever and talk about for years, but VAR has taken that away from us. Now it just leaves us with even more controversy as we expect a perfect game called by the officials.
Mistakes are part of the game but have been taken away from us, the addition of technology to the game is good, but there are certain things that should be untouched.