VAR Introduction Will Make Life Easier for Referees Next Season
VAR has been slowly introduced into football over the past few years, and despite mixed reviews from supporters, the majority of fans agree that it makes the game fairer. It has yet to be rolled out in the Premier League, but that looks set to change next season.
The deal has reportedly been “agreed in principle” and has been trialled this season behind the scenes. It will be music to the ears of the long-suffering officials who will undoubtedly relish the opportunity to take a second look at key decisions.
VAR is designed to help referees make better decisions with the assistance of a VAR team who are constantly monitoring the game. It can be used for the awarding of penalties, direct red cards and the possibility of mistaken identity. VAR can also be used to review decisions such as disallowed goals which will arguably please Southampton striker Charlie Austin.
The former Burnley man saw his strike ruled out against Watford on November 10th after the officials deemed Maya Yoshida to have touched the ball on its route to goal. Replays confirmed that the Japanese defender had deliberately moved out of the flight path and did not make contact, but this was unable to be corrected due to the lack of VAR in the top tier.
Referee Simon Hooper came under fire in just his fourth Premier League fixture. The official would certainly have benefitted from a second look at the incident which could potentially have an impact on Southampton’s top flight status this season. The Saints are struggling for firepower and that goal would have put them 2-0 up but Mark Hughes’ side were pegged back late on and remain in danger at the bottom of the table.
The FA imposed a 21-day ban on a referee for using ‘rock, paper, scissors’ as opposed to the more traditional coin toss this week, and have come under fire from a number of senior figures in the game for failing to focus on the bigger picture. However, the introduction of VAR is a huge step in the right direction and will help protect officials from continuous criticism.
VAR was extremely successful at the World Cup in Russia this summer and although many were initially sceptical about the possibility of it slowing down the game, it made the tournament much fairer and still provided a number of talking points for fans and pundits alike. It also ensures that those who regularly bet on the sport enjoy a fairer outcome and money will not be lost due to an incorrect refereeing decision. A hotly-disputed penalty or a disallowed goal can often scupper a weekend accumulator and anyone who had wagered on Charlie Austin to score during Southampton’s 1-1 draw with Watford would have been cursing their luck when the goal was ruled out.
Those who are looking for weekly tips on the top flight can bet on football with the help of experts who preview every single televised tie and provide predictions on each game. Referees can play a significant part in the outcome of matches, of course. New betting markets such as cards and penalties have been introduced, and these markets were extremely popular during Russia 2018 as a result of VAR.
Refereeing is a tough job at any level of the game but the Premier League is played at a frenetic pace and human error is always likely to occur. Although it’s taken a while for the FA to consider the prospect of VAR, it is likely to make a huge difference to the officials and prevent costly mistakes taking place in high profile games. It can’t come soon enough for Southampton fans and Charlie Austin. The top flight is likely to be revolutionised by its introduction.