Dan’s JustArsenal World Cup DiaryThe Night VAR Died? by Dan Smith
VAR was beginning to change my mind. Okay we have seen way too many penalties in the last couple of weeks, but a system where the right decision is made cannot be something I can complain too much about. Why the Premiership don’t want to use it next season is the technology wasn’t being used consistently.
I felt that in the group stages that was changing. Refs had been prepared before the competition, and between them and those sat in the truck, there appears to be a understanding of when and how it should be used. To simplify the rules, officials should only be told to look at the monitor if the view is an OBVIOUS error has been made. Meaning; followed correctly, a high percentage of the time VAR is used it should lead to a decision being reversed. Make or break was always going to be this World Cup, especially when we get to knockout football.
FIFA cannot afford for any team to exit Russia based on this new format going wrong. If that happens, the invention will lose all credibility and might not recover. Making Iran vs Portugal worrying for all who love this game. The referee was weak and allowed himself to be manipulated by the Iranians. As much as they have won the hearts of neutrals with their effort, they did things on the pitch they simply are not allowed to do. In the last 20 minutes every time the ball went went out of play the man in the middle was surrounded by individuals questioning every decision making a TV symbol just for him to second guess himself.
The warning signs were there when it took way to long for it to be judged that Ronaldo should be shown a yellow card. At that point we knew these trained professionals were feeling the heat. Despite 4 people have countless angles to observe they let the occasion get the better of them and told their colleague to have a second viewing, forgetting the policy that they should only be doing that if an OBVIOUS mistake had gone unnoticed. Then the Paraguayan needed minutes and various camera shots as it was not OBVIOUS to him that a foul had taken place, making the whole concept redundant. Can you imagine sponsors opinion on the subject if the most commercial man on the planet had to miss the last 16? At this point the underdogs knew those making the calls were letting the occasion get to them and were no longer following the protocol sent to them.
In the last minuite Iran suggested a defender had handled the ball. Myself, commentators and pundits concluded it was not a penalty, certainly not an OBVIOUS one. So the question is how, having watched the same replays we did, with more training then us, did in a system where 4 men and women and then the ref himself, with no time restrictions and unlimited views come to the opinion that it was OBVIOUS the original call needed to be reversed? This was the moment FIFA feared. Luckily there is no lasting damage apart from it has impacted who wins the group.
But if Iran had won it seconds later this would’ve become a scandal and not just in Lisbon.
While the rest of the world would have applauded a stunning upset they would of all suggested VAR be removed straight away.
This can only work if done right, it can’t be trial and error as that leads to teams being treated differently. Until it’s 100 Per cent understood then it should be put on hold. This could decide someone’s fate and future. If a team exits the tournament because VAR is being interpreted wrongly then go back to the old way of doing things. You can accept human error but not when computers are meant to be helping them.