Are we warming to VAR?
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was tested in each of the 3pm premier league fixtures last Saturday, in the surest sign yet of a gradual easing in hostility towards the use of technology.
Early assessments of the trial were positive, with tests showing that Leroy Sane’s disallowed goal would have been the only hypothetical intervention. Premier League chiefs are reported to be happy with the early feedback and could soon move to convince clubs of its benefits. VAR will also actively be used in Carabao Cup and FA Cup ties this season.
There has been a degree of resistance to VAR in the Premier League and as the founders of the game it is perhaps understandable. The increased use of technology is clearly at odds with the traditional simplicity of the sport and this naturally causes issues.
The farcical scenes last season would only add weight to this, but most would agree this was the result of uninformed and poorly trained officials rather than a problem with the technology. In fact, the great success of the 2018 World Cup and the use of technology to largely allow the tournament to run without controversy should allay some of those fears.
Football results today are worth more and more to a far more commercialised sport and in many ways this makes the need for accuracy of officiating all the more important. The punishment for an incorrect decision is worth far more today than it was in the past. Yes some may argue that results even themselves out, but few would deliberately call for poor on field officiating.
Last weekend was just the start of the gradual move towards VAR in this country. Are we finally willing to accommodate it?