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September 9, 2018
We Must Protect Our Children
September 9, 2018

Is the VAR dying a natural death?

La Liga, the Spanish Premier League, is one of the few European leagues to introduce the VAR system.

by Alvin Corneal

Now that the first three or four rounds of the English Premier League have been completed and fans have been hurt over the disappointment of their teams’ results, there have been many reflections done by the players, coaches and commentators. The implication is that there are far too many mistakes being made by match officials, some of which have affected the final scores.

You may or may not have recognised that the early attention given to the use of the video replays (Video Assistant Referee system) has literally been reduced or quietly bypassed. I’ve dialogued with a few of my learned, former internationally trained technocrats, all of whom were paying close scrutiny of same.

To this day, I still insist that the sudden introduction of the VAR system did not help the game during the World Cup in Russia.

The commencement of the leagues across Europe has witnessed some serious mistakes. Many of these seemed easily visible to the naked eye, and even in some cases the position of the referee and his assistants had different views.

Likewise some incorrect decisions made by referees were exposed in hindsight, but neither the video camera nor the vision of the referees seemed to enjoy a nice marriage when it came to the final decisions.

Actually, I share the view of the gurus whose job it is to observe carefully everything which takes place in a match. From handled balls, one of which entered the goal off an outstretched hand, to some dubious decisions regarding penalties at more times than previously existed over the years.

I have seen referees who for many years were very competent in performing their duties in the European circuit, reacting adversely when the issue seemed obvious.

The English tend to place much confidence in a number of officials who have been in the game for such a long time that the diehard fans may be falling prey to sentiment or even partisan behaviour.

My next question is, why has FIFA not continued to practise the VAR system officially across the major leagues across the world? Is it because they have recognised their initial error of judgement, or have they silently sought to let it die a natural death?

In the eyes of the small country participants of FIFA, they fear to challenge issues which are of value to all countries.

Years ago, the English football associations had to finalise decisions regarding the game and their competence seemed to be ultra-careful. Today, one tends to assume that the votes of the various countries are taking the route of the leaders aiming to convince the minors in particular to share their view and follow whatever decisions are being personally explained to their leaders, those who have the job of using the votes of the country.

Finally, the number of corrupt methods in previous years, which were apparently encouraged within the hierarchy of the FIFA and where the guilty ones paid the price, should be lessons to the newly elected ones.

Their responsibility is to carefully study ALL the areas of the great game and not just accept any form of diplomatic influence from those who are in office.

Have you noticed that FIFA has now started taking over the reins of directing the confusing football associations of some countries? They are appointing interim committees to conduct the affairs of their financial investment and use the time to take a close look at the constitutions of those countries with difficult administrative behaviour, which is disrupting the smooth running of the sport in their respective countries. We should pay close attention to this interference.