The Premier League made a decision to introduce the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after a unanimous decision by all clubs. All Premier League matches through out the season were scheduled to have VAR, who is constantly monitoring the match.
In addition, the Premier League also set the so called ‘high bar’ for VAR intervention on subjective decisions to maintain the pace and intensity of the matches. Also on the cards was the mention that it will be used only for “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents” in four match-changing situations:
- Penalty decisions
- Direct Red card incidents
- Mistaken identity
How has it fared thus far
So far 105 goals or incidents have been directly affected by the video ref. Below is a summary of decisions made by VAR;
Total overturns: 105
Leading to goals: 25
Leading to disallowed goals: 54
Penalties awarded: 20 (9 missed)
Penalties overturned: 7 (1 for offside)
Penalties retakes: 4 (1 from scored, 3 from missed)
Goals ruled out for offside: 32
Goals awarded after incorrect offside: 8
Goals ruled out for handball: 14
Goals allowed after wrong handball: 2
Red cards: 9
Overturned red cards: 3
Bad decisions and unseen incidents in the past have often proved costly to teams. The VAR since its inception this season has helped remedy to a certain extent some decisions that would have otherwise left teams fuming and referees criticized after matches.
Truth be told, it has also improved players’ behavior significantly. Majority of them no longer have a go at the referee after a decision is reached as was the case in previous years.
It has proved effective for majority of the decisions made. Reviewing it after the season to help in making not far from perfect decisions will be crucial come next season.
Whilst technology has its shortcomings, there has been a lot of controversy caused by the VAR. Most coaches fans and pundits feel that it has been deplorably inadequate as well as lacking uniformity in similar incidents across different matches. Some decisions made have left many dismayed by the VAR.
The time it takes to come up with a decision after reviewing incidents is also up for scrutiny. At times it takes too long, slowing the high-octane nature that the Premier League is renowned for all over the globe.
The jury is definitely out on how the VAR has performed during the course of the season. With the ever changing technological world, it is almost certain that reviewing of incidents via video is here to stay. More should certainly be done by FIFA, The Premier League and other football bodies to improve the technology and improve the decisions made during matches
SPORTS PLUG RATING: 6/10