12 very different opinions on VAR at the World Cup to help you make your mind up
Is the video assistant referee playing a blinder or ruining the tournament?
After VAR was used to both give and not give penalties during France v Australia and Argentina v Iceland, the technology has gone front and centre much as everyone expected it would.
The first World Cup goal to be given with the help of the video assistant referee saw France’s Antoine Griezmann score from the penalty spot before Australia levelled with a VAR-confirmed spot-kick of their own.
Argentina v Iceland also produced its fair share of questions for the technology, so with plenty of games to come at the 2018 tournament in Russia, what’s everybody saying?
1. Gary Lineker pointed out VAR is only supposed to be used for clear-cut decisions.
The fact opinion is divided on the Griezmann VAR penalty decision suggests that even if it probably was a penalty the decision should not have been changed.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 16, 2018
2. Former Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise couldn’t see an issue, however.
Love VAR! Brilliant and well used Ref. Will be a lot less diving and things that ruins the game in the future— John Arne Riise (@JARiiseOfficial) June 16, 2018
3. Olympic gold medal winner and hockey player Samantha Quek is already sick of the appeals.
Another annoying side effect of this #VAR system and its constant use, is every player going down then rushing the Ref and asking him to look at it- just in case.— Samantha Quek (@SamanthaQuek) June 16, 2018
Bloody annoying!#VAR #WorldCup #ARGICE
4. Former England centre-back Sol Campbell declared it “the age of technology”.
5. Another former England international, this time Brian Moore of rugby union, said if you’re against VAR you have no leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about referees.
If you don't like/want VAR fine, but then don't whinge about decisions; accept the referee's opinion (and the inevitable errors) and get on with it.— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) June 16, 2018
6. Graeme Le Saux suggested that VAR had failed to rid the game of inconsistencies.
We’ve seen both good use of VAR (Griezmann pen FRA) and bad use of VAR ( Pavon appeal ARG) already today. Officials can always hide behind the “clear and obvious” get out of jail card. The outcome still is large inconsistencies. #FifaWorldCup2018— Graeme Le Saux (@graemelesaux14) June 16, 2018
7. Luis Garcia won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, and suggested VAR was making the players lose focus.
VAR makes players lose the focus of the game, waiting for a possible change of the referee decision.— Luis Garcia (@luchogarcia14) June 16, 2018
Argentina had a corner and players were looking at the referee instead of winning the ball in the air !! Just an opinion.
8. Some felt that VAR was doing a good job of preventing conversations after the event.
Without VAR the pundits would have spent an age dissecting the tackle on Griezmann during and after the game and the referee would have looked foolish. Instead, after a short delay, they reached the right decision.— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) June 16, 2018
9. Meanwhile, others wondered if VAR could take control.
Can VAR send off the referee?— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) June 16, 2018
10. Or indeed whether artificial intelligence was the answer.
Problem with VAR is that there's still a human behind who makes the call to the ref to revisit the decision. Need Artificial Intelligence. 😉— LFCZA 🇿🇦 ☝🏻🤚🏻 (@LFCZA) June 16, 2018
11. If there is still a human deciding what is and what isn’t a clear-cut decision, what’s the point in VAR at all?
If VAR now looks inconsistent (one unclear & obvious penalty claim upheld, another not) what it proves is that these are matters of opinion/ interpretation. VAR is not a machine. It’s as fallible as we all are. Hence go with ref in most cases.— Alan Biggs (@AlanBiggs1) June 16, 2018
12. But even deciding whether or not VAR is working is an unclear decision.
VAR has worked excellently so far this tournament. Only one disruption of note, and it resulted in what most people agreed was the right decision.— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) June 16, 2018
Incidents are being checked quickly and effectively, which is just what we need. #WorldCup
Is VAR the future of football?