It is fair to say that VAR has not gone to plan for Premier League fans this season. A combination of people expecting it to be foot perfect during the first season and obvious failings have somewhat clouded the picture and future of VAR.
The league certainly won’t abandon it, but there will be changes made during the summer. The hope is that those plus a lowered expectation from fans should see VAR become a success next season, and be something that can then be pushed forward and improved further over time.
What are the Key Problems with VAR?
There are two main problems that must be rectified over the summer.
- Communication with fans in the stadium must improve, this is vital to the user experience
- Clear rules and guidelines given to fans, players and managers about the offside rule
The communication problem has become a real problem for fans. Those who are in the ground are oblivious to what is happening, while those at home have the benefit of an explanation from the commentators and summarisers in the commentary box.
Fans in the ground should be up to date with everything, some kind of announcement is needed whether this is from the referee, fourth official or someone else.
One of the most frustrating things to see has been offsides given for toes, arm pits and other body parts. This is not only dubious because it is impossible to see with the naked eye, but also means you have to have 100% trust in the technology being used if you are using it for decision like this.
We need clear offside rules from the Premier League, and VAR needs to work off those. We may not like them, but then at least everyone is on the same page and we all know what is and isn’t offside.
The Current Impact of VAR Controversy
VAR is having all kinds of negative effects on football at the moment, which need taking out of the game.
From people being upset at decisions to managers and players not knowing what is happening, even down to punters winning or losing big money based on decisions made by VAR, many are calling for changes.
The Premier League is one of the biggest betting leagues in world football, and we even have VAR specific betting markets available now for punters to use. The new sports betting sites in the UK all have results which have been greatly affected by VAR, some for the good and some for the bad.
The key is consistency and being right all of the time, something that football punters, fans, pundits and those involved in the game all want to see.
We were all perhaps a little too laid back and unrealistic when assuming VAR would work without issues first time around, this hasn’t been the case. However, next season can be a clean start, with a lot being learnt this season and hopefully a better product to use for those who official games.