Long minutes of waiting for a verdict distort VAR – 09/18/2023 – The World Is a Ball

Long minutes of waiting for a verdict distort VAR – 09/18/2023 – The World Is a Ball

Since its implementation, half a dozen years ago, the VAR (video assistant referee) had an explicit function: to correct or avoid “clear and obvious errors” by the refereeing team (judge and linesmen) that was on the field.

For example, the video would be used to signal a scandalous unmarked penalty, or to cancel a penalty in which the defender was cleared, on the ball, but the referee initially saw a foul in the move.

Also to correct a mistake in card distribution. The field referee calls a violent foul on a given player, only to get confused and warn another. VAR must correct this mistake.

Video arbitration has its merits, and I believe, without having a numerical survey, based only on monitoring the games, that it gets it right most of the time. Overall, it makes football fairer.

The big problem, for which a solution has not yet been found, is the delay that is often seen in the analysis of moves by VAR.

In offside situations, then, the wait is “eternal”. There are several minutes in which the red line adjustment, blue line adjustment, and nothing are observed on the screen.

It occurred in Peru x Brazil, on Tuesday (12), in the World Cup qualifiers, in Lima. In the first half, after a cross from the right, Richarlison headed from the edge of the small area, putting the ball in Gallese’s net, and went out to celebrate.

The assistant on the side of the pitch did not raise the flag, there did not appear to be any irregularity in the play and, if Richarlison was ahead, it was by an extremely negligible margin.

VAR comes into action. And this is a time-consuming action. The lines are there, the viewer who is not used to them is left without understanding the mechanism, those involved in television broadcasting try to elucidate them.

It’s part of it. What should not be included is, in a definition of an offside, almost seven minutes of delay. Seven! It irritates, a lot (but six, five, four, three would also annoy).

If the technology is good and effective, it should bring an immediate verdict.

The impression that remains is that human action still prevails in the adjustment of the machinery, and how can we be sure that the freezing of the image was carried out at the exact moment it should have occurred in order to accurately assess the irregularity?

The lines also seem to be moved, a little more here, a little more there. Who knows with what criteria. My conclusion, as an observer, is that the reliability of the operation is flawed.

I’m sure that many immersed in these lines (the ones in this text, not to be confused with the dotted ones in the VAR check) think so.

Getting to the point that matters: minutes eaten by VAR – which even make the game end later than expected, with endless additions, due to the need to add time stopped – distort its concept.

When it takes more than half a minute to detect a clear and obvious error (a single replay should be enough), that error is no longer clear and obvious. There is notably a doubt, and in an offside situation this happens frequently.

In this case, the VAR should refrain from giving an opinion, interpreting the move or making “fine adjustments” (which do not always seem accurate to me), and leave the field referee’s call valid.

There will still be dissatisfied people, those on the team (or who support the team) whose decision did not favor them. But, for the sake of the fluidity and dynamics of football, so be it.

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