Early Days but VAR Having Positive World Cup Influence
The introduction of VAR technology into football was, and still is, a very controversial move. The technology does need some improvement,as does the speed in which reviews are played out, but the fact is that this can only have a positive impact on football as a whole when we do get over the teething problems that are currently posed to us. The World Cup has seen VAR used on the world stage, with millions around the world watching each and every single game and decision. We have seen a couple of instances where it hasn't been used correctly, but we have also seen decisions made thanks to VAR, and those have been important moments during the games.
The football purist will not want VAR in full time because of the time it takes. However, with the control room idea that Fifa have brought into the World Cup, we have seen that time dramatically reduce. Referee's no longer make the decision to go to VAR or not, this is made for them, which allows the game to continue and flow until it is decided whether VAR is definitely required. This cuts out the instnaces where a referee wil stop play to review a decision, only for him to be happy and not change his mind. When those in the control room get involved and tell a referee he needs to look at something, it is 99% certain that is because the referee has made an error, and play needs to be brought back. If we are stopping play becasue a decision needs changing, then many football fans won't mind that.
However, anyone who thinks VAR is perfect the way it is right now, is wrong. There is still room for improvement and hopefulle that is something that continues over the coming years. Anyone watching the England vs Tunisia game on Monday will have seen Harry Kane manhandled to the ground, a play which should have resulted in a penalty to England. The referee missed the play, which is understandable due to the crowded nature of the penalty area, but those in the VAR control room failed to get involved. This is where they could really stamp their mark on the game, and be an additional pair of eyes for those in charge. Referee's won't see everything, but those watching live video feeds should do, and they can assist thanks to this.
The progress made by VAR has been positive so far, but it would be interesting to see this technology used in a further way to enhance the game. One of the biggest problems in football and something that has plagued the game for years has been players diving to try and get a penalty or free kick awarded in their favour. With VAR meaning referees get to see every angle and view of a challenge, what about using VAR retrospectively to give players yellow cards for diving? The referees on the pitch don't often give out these yellow cards, but in blatant instances these can be added after the game by the VAR referee. In tournament football where yellow cards add up to suspensions quickly, this would be a great way to cut out diving on the world stage, and ensure games were as clean as possible.
So far VAR has played an important role in the World Cup, and we have seen some great games. The two favourites to start the tournament were Brazil and Germany, and both failed to pick up a win in their opening games. Brazil are still favourites at 7/2 with BetRegal, while Germany have drifted all the way out to 7/1 with the same bookmaker. Brazil are next in action on Friday, while we have to wait until Sunday to see the holders Germany in action again.