Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Football: Blessing or Curse?

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Football: Blessing or Curse?
Photo: LS

Football has always been a passionate game. The concept, rules, and the game itself have remained the same over the decades inspiring thousands of people, but with the addition of modern technology, there have been a few changes and additions. Changes that have affected the game visibly, and were very conspicuous this World Cup season.

What are the changes that we see today?

Due to the addition of modern technology in modern football, one of the main changes we saw was the addition of VAR. VAR stands for Video Assistant Referee, which sounds very official and helpful. And, it should be but due to the addition of VAR in football, we have seen referee decisions being overturned. Something that we never saw before in football.

Is it good or bad?

The big question — Is the addition of modern technology good or bad? Like all things, this too is a matter of perspective. It depends on how you decide to look at it and the way you look at it will change your opinion.

For example, ask yourself this, would you rather have a wrongly given penalty against your team in a tournament like the World Cup where the margins are so narrow that teams win by a fraction of the ball being on the line? In games where a decision like a penalty can change the entire game, the appearance of VAR is certainly lauded.

But this also begs the question, the addition of technology but at what cost? We have witnessed that the VAR and Referees might take quite a bit of time to reach their decision. This slows down the game and ruins the momentum.

Football has always been a game of momentum. It is especially noticeable how the games speed up after halftime. The last 45 minutes are usually played at a high pace and the momentum is always in top gear. But when the VAR interferes, the momentum is lost. The speed of the game slows down and this not only affects the players but also annoys the audience. Many have complained already about how much they hate VAR and the way it slows down the game.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, even a football fan has to be a realist and accept reality, and the reality is that whether you like it or not, technology will assimilate into every aspect of our lives and football will not stay separate from that. Sooner or later, technology will be integrated into the game and it's a good thing we get real-time analysis of situations with VAR.

Remember the 'hand of God' goal? Now imagine if VAR existed back then. That goal would not have counted and history would have been very different. (And I reckon, there would not be so many Argentina fans as well).

With so much modern technology and high-performance cameras on the pitch, we have still seen some controversial decisions this World Cup. This begs the question, what is the use of modern technology if the decision is still wrong after all that? It is a fair question and fans have every right to ask that.