I am dead serious. We are almost done with 2017 and the world is more technologically advanced than it has ever been. The single most popular tournament in the entire world has no business still operating on 19th-century technology, i.e. Human eye and recall. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is a system that allows for the review of what is considered to be game-changing decisions: goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity. The referee on the pitch would get the appropriate call from the referee reviewing the replay. He may decide to accept or overrule the VAR call. He even has the option to review the call on the field alongside his physical assistant referees. It is such a no-brainer and there is no argument that can defend not having it at the World Cup!! I’m here to debunk your anti-VAR points one by one.
VAR will slow down the game
The real response to this is: So what? More football for everyone, I say! We already stop the game for injuries and add the time at the end of the match, how would this be any different? If a team scores a goal and spends 30 seconds celebrating, they can also afford to use that time to review the goal. If it’s not a legitimate goal, the celebration ends and no time is lost. Ask yourself how many times a match has a controversial game-changing decision? Definitely not significant enough for this to be a problem! NEXT!
VAR will kill the spirit of the game
Football purists want everything to remain the same. They say: “Football is like that,” if a penalty is called against you following a dive. They say “You’ll be alright,” if a goal is ruled offside when it wasn’t; after all, the law of averages guarantees that all teams will eventually be on the benefitting end of a poor referee call. What spirit are we actually trying to preserve here? The answer is NONE! It is outdated to treat a professional sport the same way you would treat a pickup game. Wins and losses at the highest level of football actually matter. Money is on the line! People’s emotional wellbeings are at stake! Again I ask, what spirit? Minimizing human errors does nothing to compromise the game. After all, how angry should a team be if they score a goal that is disallowed because of VAR? About as angry as they would be if they scored a shot on target that was saved. Nothing to see there. MOVING ALONG!
VAR is not perfect
No one claimed that it was! Yes, there is still an actual human watching a screen and we are at the mercy of their interpretation, however, it is a major upgrade to complete reliance on eyesight in real time. No longer would we hear: “it happened in a split second,” or “the ref didn’t see it.” VAR will get it. Bear in mind, most advanced stadiums have big screens that show a replay of the prior event. It makes zero sense that the fans are able to watch a replay while the ref’s hands are tied by what he thinks he saw. How perfect does VAR need to be before it gets used? NOT THAT PERFECT!
The rules of play in football are there for a reason. If they can’t be enforced when there is the technology available to do so, you may as well throw the rulebook out of the window. There is always some resistance when it comes to new things, and like Goal-line technology, this would be no different, but I am hopeful that the powers that be will bring this to fruition at World Cup 2018. We wouldn’t want a tourney marred by a bad call/no call, now, would we? Hand of God, 1986, anyone?