Goal-line technology marked an immense change in world football for the better, as it put an end to those erroneous split-second 50/50 calls made mostly on ‘gut feel’ going in favor of one team, and against another.
Who can forget Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal vs Germany in South Africa 2010? To be fair, from the referee’s vantage point it was difficult to adjudicate whether the ball crossed the line or not. Most of the players knew almost immediate, so too the viewing public. However, the failure from any of the match officials to do so meant they were incapable of performing their task to it’s near totality.
Fast-forward to May 2015, Arsenal hosted Swansea. In the 85th minute with the score tied on 0-0. Bafetimbi Gomis sent a bullet header goal bound that David Ospina at full stretch looked to have clawed out just in the nick of time. However, no joy, because with the aid of technology Kevin Friend’s watch buzzed and he correctly awarded the goal for an unlikely Swansea victory at the Emirates.
It was this advancement that made the football world sit up; whereas before errors and it’s related consequences were swept away into oblivion, goal-line tech is now steering goals away from ambiguity and instead, bestowing on it a tag of legitimacy.
But fans of the beautiful game want MORE
FIFA acknowledged that referees needed assistance, or at least the ability to review some in-game events from a better position to make the necessary decisions from an informed perspective. Because they know as the world around us are continuously evolving so do football. Each season it becomes more demanding and more fast-paced. And, of course, the more “modern” the game becomes, so too is the outright deception from players. The cocktail of all these developments makes the job of referees more difficult. With VAR, the MORE in terms of improvement are being provided.
VAR is not without flaws though and will probably never be, but as time goes on most of the creases that are currently putting limitations on it’s scope will get ironed out as those operating the system gain experience.
Fans have a different take on it, on the one hand there are those pleased that the correct decision get made, irrespective of the time the process takes, others say that the element of human error is what makes football captivating – for them.
VAR is coming to Blighty
So far in England the trials have generated mixed results, as expected. With penalties awarded and/or denied, the system showed how useful a tool it is to get to the correct conclusion. Other times it has been conspicuous by it’s absence. Just one week ago Saturday, in the FA Cup Man City benefited twice with VAR lacking as they came from two goals down to beat Swansea 3-2. In Man Utd’s game vs Wolves Martin Atkinson denied them what look a clear penalty and refused to refer it to the available VAR, similar to the one awarded to them against PSG that Rashford converted.
In the aftermath of the recent champions league game in Paris, it took mere minutes for fans on social-media to question the systems validity and its significance, feeling that it left some hard done by. Of the more famous faces that got into the debate Patrice Evra was very gleefully, and of course took great joy rubbing his elation in the faces of players and supporters of PSG. Neymar, on the hand, was left fuming to the extent that he didn’t shy away from venting his views with a foul-mouthed rant on Instagram.
Opinions were divided, shocking, as both sets of fans, neutrals and pundits cite several precedents to support their cause, but the one thing that would have easily put an end to this argument was ambiguous and subject to perception – the law itself.
In fairness to VAR, in the process to get decisions right there is calm whilst the review is pending and the final decisions spark debates that lasts for days (taking away the talking points huh Phil?) to remind us all of what made football so addictive in the first place.
Let’s keep in mind that the VAR is simply an assistance tool that has no power to give or take away, that is solely on the authority of match officials, including those operating it.
Seems to me, for VAR to be used to its intended potential the FA ought to use it as it is across the various leagues Europe. That would include the use of a pitch-side monitor, because by refusing to do so you’re using something that’s diluted. That would be cowards way out to not embrace moving with times.
@LaboGoon usually blogs for PositivelyArsenal doing a weekly PL preview or he is very busy on twitter.