VAR Still a Subject of Controversy in the Premier League

VAR, also known as video assistant referee, has been a hot topic of controversy since its debut last season in the Premier League. There have been countless incidents of controversy, which has left experts and fans scratching their heads. These incidents have subjected to great controversy within the sport and have left the future of English football in doubt. 

VAR Still a Subject of Controversy in the Premier League

The Advent of Arrival

VAR is a technology intended to eliminate human errors or human intervention that often left the sport vulnerable. Human errors have contributed to many unfair decisions in games, including World Cup finals and domestic league championships. The proverb – “what the referee says is final” is a reflection of how one’s man opinion lingered around the sport for many decades. It was hard to tell if a referee was against or in favour of a particular team. To ease the pressure on the referee’s shoulders, The English Premier League pulled a page from Serie A to ease the controversy of VAR.

Technology Taking Over Football

Football has always been a game of 22 players playing amid an audience, with one referee whose say is final. Advancements in football technology have contributed to the betterment of the game. In recent times, goal-line technology’s introduction has helped find if the football is past the goal line or otherwise. The introduction of VAR has revolutionised the game and has since re-defined the role of a referee.

Not a Good Time to Be a Referee

One of the downsides of being a referee right now is the restricted nature of the role. Over 96 decisions have been overturned so far in the 2020/21 season. As a result, there could be tension and a feeling of redundancy in the game. To add to the pressure, referees have been on the receiving end of many disgusting gestures from fans, including death threats. 

VAR versus Referees

It’s hard to derive a figure that would describe the number of times referees purposely tried establishing control over their job by disregarding VAR. As a result, it has created a power struggle between the referees and VAR. As a result, referees have ignored genuine opinions of the VAR. To vindicate themselves from criticism received from favouring a team, they have tended to make decisions on the contrary. Such contrarian decision-making has occurred in the same game, where one team had a goal ruled out while the other managed to benefit from a similar situation later on.

An example of that would be the game between Sheffield United and Manchester United where Kean Bryan nodded in a goal from a corner to give the lead in the first half, but the replays showed Billy Sharp nudging Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, which provided an unfair advantage to the goal scorer. Later in the game, Harry Maguire challenged Aaron Ramsdale from a corner, and the Blades keeper fumbled the ball. Anthony Martial kicked the ball into the net. The referee blew the whistle for a supposed foul by Maguire before Martial had rolled the ball into the net. Ultimately, VAR could not intervene, and the goal did not stand. 

Will VAR Continue to Be Controversial?

Inconsistencies in decision-making are due to an ongoing power struggle where referees are fighting to keep their significance in the modern game alive. The clash of the egos between the officials and technology means that VAR will continue to be subject to controversy as there will be more inconsistent decision-making and a future that is more clouded than ever. Based on the popular consensus, It would be sensible to find a middle ground between the usage of VAR and the officials. 

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