The use of the video assistant referee (VAR) this season in the Premier League was always going to be a contentious issue. But, feelings towards the technology seem to have divided the entire country. Either they are supportive of the technology and feel like it just needs to be ironed out, while others are prepared to scrap it after just a few months.
The technology was apparently brought in to stop the contentious decisions, and ensure that fans, owners and punters couldn’t lament a bad decision. However, those looking for even more value in their betting should try betting with Novibet. They will offer the ultimate value on all Premier League fixtures, and ensure their punters win more when they do win.
However, has the use of VAR so far this season been a success story despite the constant negative talk around the system? And how could it be improved further?
If you focus on the good points surrounding VAR, then they are there. Most notably, when it is used efficiently, they are able to overrule decisions that on-field referees have got wrong. This has happened on multiple occasions already this season, with Sadio Mane seeing a goal disallowed for handball in Liverpool’s recent draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
When it comes to offside’s, the technology is also fantastic. It takes the decision down to the millimetre, which means there can be no arguments. Fans still lament the margins involved, but these could be the decisive decisions at the end of the season that could alter where team’s finish. The closest call so far this season came on the opening day where Raheem Sterling had a goal disallowed for being narrowly offside against West Ham United.
It doesn’t just take goals away either, as it also has awarded its fair share. The most memorable of these came at Old Trafford when Pierre Emerick Aubameyang equalised. The linesman’s flag had been raised, but VAR overruled the decision efficiently as replays showed the Arsenal striker was clearly onside.
Where Can It Improve?
When it comes to the black or white issues such as handball and offside’s, then there are few arguments against it. However, the flaws in the system have been shown repeatedly this season when it comes to decisions that could go either way. Unlike rugby union and tennis, football has different challenges as some decisions are awarded by how referees perceive them. Each referee will have different opinions on certain challenges, which means while one referee may rule out a goal for a foul in the build-up, others wouldn’t.
The most contentious of which game at Old Trafford in the Liverpool vs Manchester United game. The Red Devils opener was awarded despite many believing that Divock Origi was fouled in the build-up. The technology could be a marvellous advancement for the sport, but they will need to find the right balance between when to use it and how to use it. Should they find the correct balance, then there is little doubt that it will add to the spectacle.