We’ve got to figure one thing out before getting into the argument of World Cup 2018, whether the VAR is helping or ruining the games — and that question is: what matters to us most - the success rate of the decisions made during the game or the THE GAME ITSELF?
You can tell which one I stand for by the caps lock I chose to emphasize my strong opinion with, but let’s review both sides.
According to IFAB research from 1,000 matches showing that referee accuracy without VAR — which stood at 93 percent — rose to 99 percent with video assistance. These results sound pretty good on paper. Of course we don’t want our team to lose unfairly, of course we want a penalty given to our team when we believe there clearly is one, of course we want the referee to get it right every time so we don’t end up swearing at him for days after the game, but all that accuracy at what cost?
A constant interruption of the game, losing the pace of this dynamic sport which to me is one of the most electrifying things that create most of the magic in football, but even if I get on board (which I don’t, for the record) with sacrificing the interrupted time in the name of getting it right, haven’t you noticed that despite all of the numerous penalties given at this summer’s competition, all the waiting around to watch screens and so on, there were still debatable situations that were left unpenalized or wrongly treated.
The VAR developers will say ‘Ok it’s the first try of the system at such a big competition, it will improve’ — can you imagine if that happens and it does “improve” and all those moments we noticed which weren’t taken into consideration by the VAR team also become re-watched? All of them?
We can go on analysing the pros and cons and the statistics from all the matches so far, but let us not forget the most important thing in our favourite game and let’s not take it away — its spontaneity.
How many times have we seen our team lose unfairly because of an offside goal or a wrongly given penalty, and how many times has it been the other way around? It happens and we move on. We cry we laugh. That is what this sport is about, I’d take it any day without 100% of accuracy, but with a soul.