VAR – Video Assistant Referee


New ideas are being implemented by all modalities in order to create a greater spectacle within the passionate ones, and therefore Video Assistant Referee (VAR) appears to support the sporting truth, but does this bring only positive aspects?

First and foremost, its necessary to understand what VAR is. It’s an innovation on football system which has a team of referees in a room that helps the main referee on the field (by radio communication). VAR is displayed on major decisions such as Goals, penalty decisions, red card incidents and mistaken identity, when the referee sends off the wrong player or is unsure which player should be sanctioned.

The VAR works always when the referee has any doubts or when the VAR’s recommend the referee that a decision should be reviewed. However, it should provide minimum interference with maximum benefit according with FIFA.

Moreover, the main referee decides to review the video footage on the field or accepts the information from the VARs and takes the appropriate decision.

Hence, the International Football Association Board has approved and regulated the VAR in Cardiff on 5 March 2016, and the goal would be to realize if this innovation is to fix for the future.

Thus, the first time that VAR was used in FIFA’s official competition, was at the semifinal in the FIFA Club World Cup on 14/12/2016 between Atletico Nacional (COL) and Kashima Antlers (JAP).

VAR stepped in to give a penalty that the referee couldn’t see on the field, so that was a victory for VAR, just in the first time.

In the currently season (2017-2018), the VAR is present in several countries such as Australia, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, The Netherlands and the United States. It will be adopted in Spain the following season. This shows that is the new step for the future and we have to accept the benefits of this improvement in Football.

However, throughout these months we have had different opinions about the VAR.

For instance, IFAB Secretary Lukas Brud said “The IFAB believes the best way to answer the question of whether the use VARs will improve the game is to test it in different regions. So we are delighted to already have competitions across four confederations sign up”.

Moreover, FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino, is so far delighted with the performance of the VAR, and at the 67th Conmebol congresso in Santiago, Chile, Infantino said “We will use the VAR at the 2018 World cup, the balance so far has been very positive”.

On the other hand, the Italian goalkeeper Gianlguigi Buffon thinks VARs are “making the game ugly”. The German midfielder Sami Khedira says “The players do not know any more whether or not to celebrate after a goal.

A lot of emotion and passion has been lost”, and the coach Massimiliano Allegri shows some irritation about VAR: “In my view, technology should only be used on objective situations, but when it comes to subjective situations, people are never going to agree. That’s sport.”

It wasn’t long before the whole football world began to realize that even with this system, mistakes were being made because there are many understandings about identical situations, but most sports’ executives and professionals believe that this makes football one of the most exciting sports on the globe.

We know that despite taking us to a sporting truth, the VAR’s great handicap will always be the very emotion that makes the game. Imagine your team in a difficult situation to win the game and at the end they score a goal but a minute later it turns out that it wasn’t a goal after all. It’s difficult for the system to be perfect, but the truth is, we can only wait for the end of the season to be able to be sure.

This video shows how VAR works.