VAR, which stands for Video Assistant Referee, is a technology used in football (soccer) to assist match officials in making more accurate and informed decisions. It was introduced to help address contentious or game-changing decisions that could impact the outcome of a match. VAR aims to ensure fairness and reduce human errors in refereeing.
Here’s how VAR technology works:
During a match, a team of VAR officials monitors the game from a centralized video operation room.
The VAR team consists of experienced referees who can analyze video footage from multiple camera angles.
VAR is used to review four main types of incidents: goals, penalty decisions, red card incidents (including mistaken identity), and incidents of mistaken identity in awarding a yellow or red card.
VAR does not intervene in every situation, but only when there is a “clear and obvious error” or a “serious missed incident.”
The on-field referee makes decisions during the match as usual.
If the VAR team identifies a potential error in a key situation, they communicate this to the on-field referee.
The on-field referee has the option to consult the VAR by requesting a review or relying on the VAR’s advice.
The VAR team reviews video footage from different camera angles and provides input to the on-field referee.
After reviewing the footage, the VAR team may recommend that the on-field referee overturn or uphold the original decision, or they may suggest reviewing the footage on the sideline monitor (in some leagues).
The referee’s decision is then relayed to the players, coaches, and spectators. In some cases, the VAR’s decision is shown on the stadium’s big screens.
VAR technology has been a subject of both praise and criticism. Its introduction has improved the accuracy of certain decisions, such as offside calls and cases of mistaken identity. However, controversies and debates still arise due to the subjectivity of some decisions, interpretation of the rules, and the time taken for reviews.
VAR implementation can vary between leagues and competitions, as different governing bodies have their own rules and guidelines for its use. It’s worth noting that VAR is intended to complement the on-field referee’s decisions and is not meant to remove all controversies from the game.