Since VAR (Video Assistant Referee) was introduced into Serie A this season there’s been more complaints than compliments. However, if done right it could be an excellent addition to Italian football.
The first obvious advantage is that it can get the decision correct. With football being played at such a high tempo referees can make mistakes. While every single fan in the entire world has complained at a ref, in their defence it's a very hard job. It makes obvious sense for there to be technology to aid their performances.
The video below shows some of the correct decisions in which Serie A referees have made with VAR assistance. It’s important to note that you have to take account human error, and not every decision will be correct. Certainly, when it comes to penalties, people have differing opinions. For example, the handball rule: can you tell if a handball is intentional? It's still very subjective, even if the referee gets a chance to look at it again it still might be a difficult decision despite the aid of several different camera angles.
A further advantage is that it can punish simulation. One of the dirtiest parts of the game in which conning the referee by diving in the box to win a penalty. This can now now be spotted more easily and subsequently be harshly dealt with by the officials.
One of the biggest questions regarding the technology: is VAR here to stay? The answer is most likely yes. The president of the Italian Football Association is a fan of the new system.
"It is a great method of justice, above all, and I would like to say that at least 10 decisions have been corrected, and these have ensured sporting justice.”
While it does have its positives the Italian FA need to create more clarity with the system. It needs refining if it is to be a complete success. When it takes 5 minutes to get an easy penalty decision correct, it creates confusion for the fans who are wondering what on earth is going on.
The Fiorentina match against Atalanta was a prime example of the confusion it caused. While the referee ignored the system, there should be rules instilled similar to tennis where you can challenge the referee’s decision meaning the ref can't just say no and move on.
Is VAR a good thing?
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