In a bid to remove ‘clear errors’ from the game of football, FIFA introduced the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which is currently being put to use at the on-going Confederations Cup in Russia, a build-up to the World Cup slated for 2018.
VAR is an association football assistant referee that reviews decisions made by the head referee with the use of video footage and a headset for communication.
The centre referee practically stops the game, communicates with the operators in the replay room who then relays what will be termed as appropriate decision to be taken by the referee in the game situation.
Call it a pause, play and decide system, you will be absolutely correct. Although it is fair enough for the world football governing body to want to end the era of human errors going by what was witnessed in the Confederations Cup matches recently, it could be said that the delays caused by the system may unnecessarily slow the game down.
Football is clearly a game with intensity and loads of passion both from the players and the teeming followers across the world, putting the match to a halt will sure affect the flow of the game. Portugal ended 2-2 with Mexico while Chile beat Cameroon 2-0. It about 30 seconds for Vargas’s goal in second-half stoppage time to be confirmed after Alexia Sanchez was judged not to have been in an offside position earlier in the move.
Portugal had to wait to find out that the score would stay at 0-0 in the first half when Nani’s shot was overruled for an offside call that went unflagged in an earlier phase of play.
Trying not to sound like a mouthpiece for FIFA, perhaps the video assistant referee should be given a chance to thrive and evolve over time since it was introduced in the interest of the game. What perhaps FIFA must work on as a matter of urgency is how to reduce the time it takes referees in conjunction with the video operators. Also, players and fans of football should endeavour to shed some emotions and come to terms with the reality of what the system presents.
The interesting aspect of football is that when decisions go your way, you accept it but when it goes the other way round you become agitated and furious. Yes, some of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decisions may divide football fans just like it did in the Confederations Cup games, but it will benefit all in the long run.