Use of technology in professional sports is fast catching up. The Brazil World Cup in 2014 marked the first introduction of the goal-line technology in FIFA’s top competition. The Russia 2018 World Cup could also mark the introduction of another form of technology, the Video Assistant Referees.
This episode focuses on the VARs, which are currently getting gut-checked in a major international tournament – at this year’s Confederations Cup which is underway in Russia.
Video referees have been called to task at least five times so far in Russia, and have drawn drawn mixed reactions across the football fraternity. They’ve also been a source of confusion to players and spectators alike.
We have seen how video assistance has helped referees to make the correct decisions. This is a milestone tournament. Video assistant refereeing is the future of modern football.
The first VAR assisted call at the tournament was made during the match between Portugal and Mexico.
Portugal forward Nani converted from a rebound when Cristiano Ronaldo’s volley had rattled the crossbar. But the referee consulted with the video referee, who noticed that four Portuguese players had been offside in the passage of play before Ronaldo’s shot.
Chile striker Eduardo Vargas became the first player to ever have goals disallowed and awarded by a video referee in the same match.
He had found the net in first-half stoppage-time, but his goal was chalked off, after over a minute of wild celebrations.
Now despite this somewhat messy start, Fifa through it’s president Gianni Infantino has moved in to defend the use of this technology, saying that this is ‘the future of football’.
“I am extremely happy with VAR so far. We have seen how video assistance has helped referees to make the correct decisions. That is what VAR is all about. What fans have been waiting for over so many years is finally happening. This is a milestone tournament. Video assistant refereeing is the future of modern football,” Infantino said.
Former footballer have also weighed on the issue, and one of them is former Everton midfielder Leon Osman, and this is what he told the BBC Radio 5: “It’s going to cut down the amount of goals being scored, because every time a goal goes in, it will get reviewed. There will be 10, 15, 20% of goals that they find a tiny reason why they should rule them out. It frustrates me already, I dislike it completely.”
Well like he also added, there will be teething problems but VARs are on the way to becoming part of football and it’s unlikely they will be stopped. The International Football Association Board ( IFAB) will in March next year, make the final decision if VAR will be applied at next year’s World Cup.Follow @Muisyo_