Video assistant referees (VAR) are going to be deployed in the World Cup at Russia This move necessitate we know about the video assistant referee system and how it works. It also demands we know whether it is a help to football or a hindrance. Video assistant referee (VAR) is a football assistant referee who with the help of video footage and headset for communication reassess the decisions made by the head referee in a football match.

A number of incidents have occurred in the game that has led to calls for video assistant referee in football. Messi’s hand goal against Espanyol on the 9th of June 2007 is one of them. We can talk about Luis Garcia’s ghost goal against Chelsea and Thierry henry’s handball incident against Ireland. We can also talk about Wes Brown’s red card incident for Sunderland against Stoke City.

All this incidents that have happened over the years saw football fans, coaches, and pundits’ alike calling for a solution. The solution they yearned for was the introduction of a video assistant referee (VAR) system. Their calls were heard when FIFA finally introduced the video assistant referee (VAR) system in football.

A picture of video assistant referee(VAR).
A picture of video assistant referee(VAR).

History of Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

The body that determines the laws of the beautiful game approved the use of video assistant referees in trials during its 2016 Annual General Meeting. The body is called the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The trial began in August two years ago. The experiment was used in a Major League Soccer reserve match. Match referee of the day Ismail Elfath reviewed two incidents during the match. After consultation with video referee assistant Allen Chapman, he decided to issue a red and yellow card for the incidents.

The following month saw the incorporation of video reviews. It was used in the international friendly match between France and Italy. Another improvement was made during the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup. It saw the introduction of the pitch side monitor was into the system. The biggest improvement though happened when the A-League sides Melbourne City and Adelaide United played each other. The game was successfully without help from the video assistant referee (VAR).

Development of Video Assistant Referee(VAR).

Major League introduced the video referee assistant (VAR) system into its competition during the 2017 season. After its success in America the system was next used during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. It was praised but its importance was questioned after a referee decision in the final. The next door the video assistant referee system knocked on was the European Leagues.

From there the video assistant referee (VAR) system was used at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The system was also trialed in the English FA Cup and French League Cup. Its most important milestone was achieved when it was written into the laws of the game . Before that a 1st training center was opened in Coverciano of Italy. The use of the video assistant referee system is optional to club competitions. It is however expected to be used in Russia 2018.

How Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Works.

The video assistant referee system works in a unique way. It makes 4 key calls. One of them is determining goals and whether there was a violation in the build up to the goals. Again it make calls on penalty decisions and red card decisions. It also rectify mistaken identity in awarding a red or yellow card. The standard however for the overturn of a referee’s decision is that there has to be a clear error.

The process begins with the video assistant referee(s) and his assistant(s) assessing the play in question. They do that on a number of monitors in the video operation room (VOR) with the help of the replay operator (RO). The process works two ways. First the main referee can request for the review. Secondly the video assistant referee can recommend a review to the referee after conducting a check. In both situations the referee can change or make the call on the advice of the Video assistant referee. He can also conduct an on-field review or stick to his original decision.

Benefits of the Video Assistants Referee.

The video assistant referee (VAR) system have certain benefits like any development. It helps to rescind a red or yellow card given to the wrong person. This wouldn’t have been rectified until after the match before its introduction.

It also rules out a goal if there were any violation in the build up to the goal. Video Assistant Referees again are able to clarify penalty incidents or cases as well as red and yellow cards incidents. This has led to a reduction in diving or and simulations in competitions it is being used. Issues of match fixing are also being curbed. This improvements it has brought into the game should be commended.

Criticisms of the Video Assistants Referee.

One of the criticisms levelled against the Video Assistant Referee system is that it wastes time. It spends a lot of minutes pausing the game to review incidents in the game. Another criticism it faces is the decision to not allow reviews of incidents such as yellow card and corners. The video assistant referee system is also accused or criticized of creating as much confusion as clarity.

It makes the game rigid, superficial and uninteresting is other criticisms levelled against the video assistant referee system. Perhaps the biggest criticism the system faces is the controversy it has causes due to technical malfunction and others.

Way Forward for Video Assistant Referee.

From the discussions above the video assistant referee system has been a mixed blessing. It has solved some of the problems of football while creating new ones. What then should be the way forward? I personally reject the video assistant referee on the reason that it makes football matches boring and non entertaining.

I say so because football is a pleasure first before work. What do you think? Do you support its introduction or yearning for its demise. Share your views on this issue in the comments section. Do well to share it with your friends if you find the discussion entertaining and interesting.

FYA SPORTS: Because you and I love Sports.
By: Fredrick Adehe.

About Fredrick 52 Articles
I am a 22 year old young man born on the 14th of December 1995 at Elmina. My hometown though can be traced to Keta. I had my primary education at Global Evangelical Preparatory School and Christ Cares International School then moved on to Edinaman SHS for my senior years. I enrolled in University of Cape Coast in 2014 to pursue a degree in B.ed Social Studies. I graduate in May 24th of this year. I don't know much about life but i will like to say football, athletics and basketball have led me to places and people. I want to build my experience with you on the other side by sharing your experiences and comments as well as views.


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