VAR – or the Video Assistant Referee – has come under increasing criticism since its adoption in the Premier League for the 2019/20 season. A number of controversial decisions have potentially affected how games have ended, including Liverpool’s title showdown with Manchester City which saw two questionable calls go in the former’s favour.
But, the man in charge of introducing the technology for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) – Neil Swarbrick – has defended the technology as has referees chief Mike Riley.
Liverpool are currently 1/2 favourites to win the Premier League according to Which Bookie and it’s safe to say that without the video technology, the table would look very different. Of course, the Reds would still be top, but the gap between themselves and Manchester City – who would be second – would be seven rather than nine points.
City had a goal ruled out which would have given Pep Guardiola’s side victory against Tottenham after VAR penalised Aymeric Laporte for a handball.
Whilst one City has been penalised another has been rewarded with Leicester obtaining four decisions in their favour.
Wolves would have beaten Leicester and Southampton without the new system and rise two places to sixth in the amended table, as Arsenal and Manchester United both gain a point but drop to seventh and eighth respectively.
Without VAR it’s Everton whose rise is the most meteoric, going from 15th to ninth whilst Southampton replace Norwich at the bottom of the table as Crystal Palace drop five places to 17th and Brighton fall three to 14th.
Can VAR survive?
It was supposed to revolutionise the Premier League, but it’s been a catastrophe so far. The lack of communication to fans in the stadium and the loss of atmosphere, as a result, has got the majority of the footballing fraternity in a frenzy.
Whilst those at the top continue to defend the technology, those that play it, coach it, watch it and comment on it are becoming increasingly worried that the soul is being taken out of their beloved game. It appears as though the Premier League will continue to use VAR, but it needs to be adapted for the sake of football’s main customers – supporters.