VAR: progress or regress? By Lateef Ajibade

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Nobody is perfect; everything has their own treating weakness. It is absolutely natural for a ship to sink; this is cool enough in our day to day activities. But in the sport world, especially football, it brings humiliation, injustice and depression to teams, players and fans. Football judgement can’t be perfect, it can never be, but its imperfectness can be diminished. One major aim of creating the video assistant referee is to provide fair and just results in football. Football has being known to be one of the most controversial sports in the world.  OFR (on-field referee ) can’t but make mistakes, Gibbs (ex Arsenal player ) was awarded a red card in place of Conquelin and also Son (Tottenham) was shown a red card in place of Aurier for the famous heavy tackle on Everton’ s midfielder Andre Gomez, which was later cancelled after the match.

         According to Wikipedia, four major categories are identified that VAR will aim at investigating, they are;

 A. Goal or no Goal

A lot of factors are under here. A player who scored might be in an offside

 position, an attacking team can commit a foul, handball etc

B. Penalty or no Penalty 

One of the aims of VAR is to check if a particular scene deserves a penalty. There are some issues where by the referee won’t be able to see or know the actual play, with the help of VAR, the scene will be reviewed thoroughly and just judgement will be pronounced.

     C. Mistaken Identity

Before the arrival of VAR, mistaken identity is inarguably common in football, as I illustrated above, the referee can’t but make mistakes, they can give judgement to one that doesn’t deserve it.

      D. Direct or Straight Red Card

In football, there are two red cards. We have direct or straight red card where players are given red card without an incipient warning (obviously yellow card), indirect red card is the red card being awarded to player after being given yellow card.  Their punishments are quite different which enrage the decision after being ordered. A player who suffers a straight red card will be suspended for three consecutive matches while the indirect red card will be given a suspension of two consecutive matches. VAR will review any sign of violent conduct, hitting, biting, heavy-pushing, insultive, offensive, abusive gestures.

    Importance of Var

Fair and just judgement

The major importance of VAR is that it aims to provide a fair and just judgement. Foul language will be reviewed and there will be no room for partiality. 

It is objective and unbiased

Can technology ever lie?  To say of what is that it is and to say of what is not that is not is what defines the “truth” most. VAR reviews scene as exactly as it is and it gives room for clear perception, unless a referee doesn’t want to award the judgement.

     Criticism of Var

Nothing in this world is immune from criticism. Var is known to be a time-seeking if not time-wasting technology. Everything needs time truly but a situation whereby var want to review a scene, undoubtedly, at least, it will take 80 seconds to review of there is no much controversy. Var wastes time a lot, in Chelsea vs Ajax match last week, almost ten minutes was used to review the red card scenes. People, even Frank Lampard, were disappointed when the added time was not more than 4 minutes. How can game be fair here?

    OFR’s subjectivism

Ever wonder why this point is listed? The on field referee might ignore the scene that calls for VAR, that happens many times.  Referees can choose not to review and play the game on which means despite the effectiveness of the var, the referee’s personal judgments is still the ruler of the game

    VAR devalues OFR

With the presence of var, the on field referee decisions are no more reliable when we realize that technology is more perfect than man. The essence of the referee has being depreciated, referee’s decision are now being reviewed turning play-on to penalty, yellow card to red card

    VAR is costly

In 2018, top clubs from Campeonato Brazil Serie A (Top division of Brazilian football club) rejected the implementation of var over its cost which is estimated to be almost 20million dollars. For local leagues, matches to use VAR, it will cost them a lot of cash.

 It kills passion, intensity and game’s mentality

How will a player who has already jubilated passionately for scoring a goal feel after his goal is ruled out by VAR? Azpulicueta against Ajax is the just-concluded fourth Champions league game is the most recent example for this.

    In conclusion, before the var , we have the rra ( referee review area) where the on field referees come together at the adjacent of the field and analyze how this scene goes. According to FIFA head of refereeing Massimo Busacca sounded a note of caution about VAR last year;

that it isn’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

 “We are looking to have incredible uniformity and consistency, but don’t think that technology solves the problem 100 percent.”

He said during a media briefing.

Everybody just want a fair game, with var, are we in progress or regress?

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