Everyone loves a pantomime villain in football. Luis Suárez, Sergio Ramos and Diego Costa spring straight to mind, as one moment they’re scoring a wonder goal and the next they’re sent off for a headbutt. However, it looks like we’ve just discovered the game’s newest one.
Video Assistant Referee – better known as VAR – has been a key talking point in football for a few years now, but upon its recent introduction to the Premier League it has practically been the point of discussion at every single game. Just a month into its presence in the English top flight, it’s caused a lot of controversy.
This is a rebuttal piece to Shayan’s article last week, in which he attacks and accuses VAR of ruining football. It is a fantastic piece that offers some great points, so I highly recommend you read it alongside this one.
I am a big supporter of VAR, and I have been from the start. From the early days of the concept to its use in competitions across Europe and the international stage, I have always supported its use and will continue to do so. We need VAR, no question about it.
You cannot deny that VAR has been hugely contentious. Whether it be controversial decisions, an incorrect use of it or even the complete absence of its use, pundits and fans alike have been complaining about the new system time after time. While it has been far from perfect, we still need it.
Not every decision has been perfect, and not everyone agrees on new law reforms such as the revised handball law. But people attacking VAR for not being perfect doesn’t make sense. With VAR in the Laws of the Game for just over a year, how can people already be complaining about its flaws in its early stages?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was VAR. It will take time to be perfected, and the only way for us to improve it is by trial and error. That starts by using it in competitive football, and seeing how it works at the highest level. It won’t be perfect for a few more years, but when it is we’ll forget what life without VAR was like.
Football will become bigger and better as VAR begins to adapt and strengthen, but it’s no surprise that it hasn’t hit the ground running. Nonetheless it is a fantastic system, incorporating the incredible advancements of technology into the rapidly advancing beautiful game.
One day, when we have developed VAR into the ultimate, perfect, flawless football decision system, it’ll earn plaudits worldwide and be declared as one of modern football’s greatest inputs. The current criticism is needed, but what isn’t is accusations of cheating and bias.
This point is aimed at certain fans in particular, who are using the argument “what’s the point of having VAR if it’s not used correctly?” It seems that if VAR works in favour of your club, you are in favour. But if it goes against you, you go against it. That’s not how it works. Get over it.
The biggest plea I can ask for about VAR is to give it time and be patient. A saying that’d be reserved for a player or a manager is equally relevant for football’s latest addition, because just as those players and managers they need the chance to adapt and settle in.
VAR isn’t hindering or ruining the beautiful game, it’s preparing to enhance it. Crucial decisions will be fairly decided, cheating and foul play will be eliminated and match officials will become sharper and better with the aide of VAR. It won’t happen overnight, but neither did Rome.
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