What is VAR, and how has it been influencing soccer world?

Updated: Oct 16, 2020

Made by Power Football

VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is a system introduced into soccer for referee assistance, whose goal is to avoid errors that can markup a game. Every stadium has a VOR (Video Operation Room) where a referee, an assistant referee, and a group of about twelve computers. This VOR is connected to the principal referee during the games. The VOR is connected to the referee on the pitch by a smart watch, and they can communicate with him at every moment of the game. The principal referee can ask the VOR for the review of the play or he can stop the game and go watch it by himself in order to decide if the play stands or it needs to be changed.

When is VAR used?

Referees can go to check the VAR for three specific situations, that can occur during the game, and can be changed depending on the review of the specific play. These three situations are: Goals, penalties, and yellow/red cards.

· Goals:

Situations when a player is in the offside position, situations when a player from the opposing team is obstructing the goalkeeper’s view to the ball, and if the ball has crossed or not the goal line.

· Penalties:

Doubtful situations where the referee is not sure to concede a penalty kick or not

· Fouls/player ejections/player identity:

Referees can confirm with the VAR, to see the severity of the foul to determine if the player should be ejected from the game. Check the identity of the player, referees sometimes eject players that did not commit the foul.

It was first introduced to soccer in 2017, into MLS, Australian League and to some friendly matches. First officially in the Confederations Cup Russia 2017. Starting in the 2018-2019 season, VAR was introduced to the main European Leagues, UEFA Competitions, Men’s World Cup (Russia 2018), Women World Cup (France 2019) and Copa America (2019).

VAR has its own advantages and disadvantages. On the advantages, if can secure or recheck the decision of a specific play, it helps the referee to avoid incorrect play stands, and makes him (the referee) a more secure guy during the game. The disadvantages of VAR are that it can be very polemic and controversial, it slows down the rhythm and pace of the game and it can create uncertainty towards players and coaches.

Imagine tennis without the Hawkeye review to see if the ball is in or out or football, basketball and baseball without booth review and coaches’ challenges. VAR was a good addition to soccer, even if it can create debate among players, coaches or even the press and the media.

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