Are Premier League Rules Failing VAR and Can Its Shortcomings be Fixed?

Elias Hubbard
November 18, 2019

Following its introduction back in January 2018 during an FA Cup match between Crystal Palace and Brighton, VAR, video assistant referee, has thus far failed English football. There is growing skepticism among managers, players and supporters as the technology’s existing impact lacks both clarity and consistency in several on-field situations.

However, while the current application of the newly-developed approach to reviewing decisions is failing to win over the masses, there’s nothing to say that it can’t be fixed. As a result, we’re going to look at how other leagues have embraced the software, while also highlighting several successful uses of video technology in sport and beyond.

The Laws Need Changing

While there can be no doubts that VAR has several problems that need ironing out before it can be considered a success, the current laws of the game are failing to help clarify how and when it should be called up. During the recent top-of-the-table clash between Liverpool and Manchester City, the technology was called into action on numerous occasions. Despite it being quick to make the relevant decisions throughout the match, the technology’s judgment regarding Trent Alexander-Arnold’s supposed handball has left many wondering what the rules of the game are.

Although the debate will rage on over whether the reigning champions should have been awarded a penalty, by the new rules of the game, many argue that Liverpool’s opening goal, on another day, could have been ruled out with the help of VAR. The letter of the law currently states that a foul will be given if a player creates a chance or directly scores a goal from an accidental handball. Crucially, in this case, less than 30 seconds after the ball struck the 21-year-old’s arm, Jurgen Klopp’s side launched a quick counter and scored, bringing the new law under increased scrutiny.

Technology Has Shown That It Can Work

Regarding the technology’s widespread impact on the game, there are indications from other leagues that the software can thrive. In the Bundesliga, Germany’s top-flight can claim to have successfully introduced VAR over the last few years. Unlike in Premier League football, the referee’s in Germany are encouraged to use the pitch-side monitor before making a conclusive verdict, while in England, there are concerns that the sideline-review strategy could further slow the decision-making process.

Outside of football, live video software has been effectively implemented in a wide array of different sports and industries. Perhaps the most well-known use is Hawk-Eye in Tennis. Although there is never a guarantee that it will work 100 per cent of the time, six or more computer-linked cameras generate a 3D representation of the ball’s flight which provides umpires with support in tight decisions. Moreover, within the iGaming industry, digital casino slot games such as Football Studio capture the pre-VAR passion of football and combines it with forward-thinking, live elements of the sport which details big-moment reactions and real-time match action.

Patience is Key

VAR is set to continue being the central point of debate among Premier League viewers throughout the rest of the 2019-20 season. However, while its shortcomings are there for all to see, other leagues, markets and sports prove that consistency and patience can result in success.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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