What a week it’s been. VAR has well and truly established itself as a guaranteed provider of contrary opinions, bringing with it the very controversy the system was brought in to eradicate. Ah, football – you never fail to deliver. All this discussion as to whether the sport should “keep up with technology” or whether the introduction of VAR would “slow down the beautiful game”, and we find ourselves at a bit of a stalemate. In a recent BBC poll, entitled “what’s your verdict on VAR?” 3 of the 4 possible responses were tied on 28%:
“I’m quietly enthused”
“Still not sure about it”
“It’s all nonsense”
At least we can all agree, minus 16% of voters that I can only describe as either defiantly optimistic or undeniably unaware, “it’s been great”, isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. If you are one of the 16%, I applaud your belief/optimism/love of awkward pauses after game-changing events, however I must admit I do not share it. What was happening after Willian’s booking for his apparent dive? I can only hope the superfast images, labelled ‘VAR’, that played on the BBC’s coverage of the Chelsea game weren’t actually what the VAR was seeing at that time.
It would however appear that thus far, despite the obvious flaws in the system or the implementation thereof, major controversy has been avoided – if only because questionable decisions haven’t directly affected the outcome of a game. Yet. Personally, I’d love for VAR to transition seamlessly into the Premier League. I do believe that such a scenario can be realised, but I’d very much like it if we could escape from this uncertain time and arrive in the utopia that is ‘successful implementation of video technology’ sooner rather than later.
Something I’ve been dwelling on recently is how FIFA 19 is going to implement the technology; after all, they added goalline technology shortly after its arrival in the Premier League. Will the software developers assign a random ‘wrong decision’ algorithm to the code, or will they decide to give this one a miss?
One man who evidently loves VAR more than anyone is poor old Alvaro Morata. The Chelsea striker’s emphatic television gesture ensured he looked more like a frustrated family member in the latter stages of a Christmas game of charades than a professional centre-forward. It seemed somewhat fitting, following his miming theatrics, that the Spaniard was to find his name in the book. Twice. Might I suggest Pictionary next time, Alvaro?