Video Assistant Referee, better known as VAR, is set to finally be in use in the Premier League for the 2019-20 season.
The VAR debate has been a hot topic, whether it is current players, managers or former players of the game, everyone seems to have their own opinions on the matter. Those who support the system argue that the right call triumphs any flaw in the system. Those who despise VAR claim that it takes too long for a decision to be made and it takes away from the nature of the game. The momentum of the game can be completely switched from just one VAR call. Following Charlie Austin’s emotional post match interview in which his Southampton side were wrongly denied a goal, the Premier League has made the decision to integrate VAR for next season.
The concept of VAR is very simple; however, the specific rules about it, how it works and what it applies to can be ambiguous.. So, we will go over what VAR is and what it does and what it ultimately means for the Premier League.
What is VAR?
The Video Assistant Referee system was first used by a top flight professional team in the Australian A-League in April 2017. VARs use has spread to the German Bundesliga, Serie A and Major League Soccer. VAR can be used to review or overturn 4 decisions. It can review goals, penalty calls, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity (remember that time Kieran Gibbs got sent off instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain). The VAR team communicates to the head referee via ear piece and will proactively contact the official if there is a clear and obvious error that went unnoticed. Overall, VAR’s purpose is to make more accurate decisions more often and at the most important points in matches.
What it will hopefully solve ^^^
What Does This Mean for The Premier League
Renowned as being the league most stingy in defiance of implementing VAR, the Premier League has given in and VAR will be present next season. Possibly in response to Southampton forward Charlie Austin’s post match interview, he called for action on his wrongly disallowed goal and suggested that the referees be given the help they need to make the right decisions. Southampton were consequently robbed of 2 points and this may have proved to be the breaking point and allow for the integration of VAR.
Many former players and pundits, along with current players and managers have spoken out about the use of VAR, claiming it takes momentum out of the game, leaving the game prone to drastic changes in tempo. There have been famous events in world football that have been called incorrectly, for example, Frank Lampard’s World Cup goal against Germany that was incorrectly ruled out. Lampard has since been a huge supporter of VAR, drawing to that example as inspiration as to why something like VAR is necessary. At first, the Premier League faithful may find it annoying to deal with and a detriment to the excitement of football. However, as time goes on, VAR will become more efficient and less time consuming in the game. The sooner the Premier League was going to accept it, the sooner it could be positively integrated into English football culture. Next year will be a growing year in which VAR will most likely be greatly criticized in some matches. VAR is a new system but the referees will gain experience with and the Premier League officials of the future will have already learned to work in collaboration with the system. There will be growing pains but VAR is good for the life of the Premier League.
Written by: Andrew Diefenderfer