VAR is a video assistant referee, a technology which is currently being used in all the leading football leagues in a bid to rectify the match officials’ mistakes in a football game. The Video assistant referee has a number of television screens at his disposal where he can analyse a particular moment via various kinds of action and slow motion replays.
He can then suggest to the on field match officials who can then stay or overturn their decisions. VAR had been sporadically used before the 2019-20 season in the Premier League from where this technology has been used in full force.
VAR has been approved by the International football association board which takes care of the laws of the game.
VAR was first experimented by the Dutch football association in the Eridivisie and following its successful completion it decided to inform the International football association board about the changes.
VAR has influenced the football clubs too as a number of decisions sometimes have shifted the momentum to the losing side. VAR technology was involved in a whopping 120 goals in the Premier League last season. 47 goals were disallowed while 38 penalties were awarded after consultation with the video assistant referees.
In Ligue 1 VAR was at the peak of its form as the technology corrected 75% errors on the pitch last season.
VAR has not been completely perfect as there have been instances where the technology has had its shortcomings. In the 2018-19 Champions League quarterfinal Tottenham Hotspur’s Fenando Llorente scored at the stroke of the 73rd minute against Manchester City.
The ball appeared to have hit his hand but after a consultation with the video assistant referee the match official decided to have a look at the pitch side monitor and allowed the goal.
What is VAR in football: process
The use of VAR has also reduced errors from match officials as they now very often refer to the VAR team officials to review an ongoing situation on the pitch. VAR review process can be lengthy at times and VAR can advise the match referee to have a look at the incident himself in the referee review area.
There is a monitor placed beside the pitch and the referee can on field review the footage and take necessary decisions. VAR can inform the referee when a match changing incident happens or the referee can consult with VAR.
The video assistant referee who sits in the video operation room alongside the video assistant referee, will try to review the footage from as many camera angles as possible and will try to provide a conclusion to the match referee. The room also has one replay operator to help in the proceedings
The play will be stopped until a further decision is made only the referee has the authority to take the final decision in the match. VAR can make a recommendation to the on field match official but the referee has the final call in a game.
There could be a number of instances in a match where the referee can halt the match to consult with the video assistant referees. VAR is usually used to determine any match changing situation on four occasions: mistaken identity, goals, penalties and red card incidents.
Every possible action can be around those four instances as VAR technology will not be used for other things in a match. Currently, alongside Premier League, the La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and even Major League Soccer have VAR technology in each of the top flight games.
VAR can take note during a penalty kick offence like a double touch by the penalty taker, player encroachment during the penalty, goalkeeper movement on the goalline and other penalty incidents.
He can alter his decisions if he thinks the decision needs to be reviewed. The referee can access the referee review area when VAR prompts him to rectify a clear and obvious error. The monitor cannot be used all the time and only after the consultation with the video assistant referee the match official can take a video review.
VAr can disallow a goal if it finds out any offence when the attacking team gained possession. The Initial decision will be the referee’s but he can always consult with the video assistant referee. The goal can be ruled out and the referee can restart the play after he makes his decision.
During a penalty decision, VAR can be of much help as it can determine whether the foul is committed inside the penalty box or the involved players were in an offside position. Also in case of diving where a penalty has already been awarded to the team.
VAR can also intervene when an obvious goal scoring opportunity is denied by a player or set of players. When it comes to a missed incident or serious foul play the referee can take the help of the pitch side monitor after consultation with the video assistant referee.
There is also a factor that once play has restarted VAR cannot follow up the past incidents and play must be stopped if a VAR review process is going on. Supporters can be made aware of the proceedings on the big TV screen as they can also actively take part in the game.
How is VAR used in football?
VAR or video assistant referee sits before a number of TV monitors and can review incidents happening on the football pitch.
What are the benefits of VAR in football?
VAR can rectify decisions and can help referees in reviewing wrong decisions.