With the conclusion of the English premier league, the Football Association(FA) and premier
league clubs have alot of brainstorming to do concerning the efficiency and effectiveness of the
video assistant referee(VAR) going into the 2020/2021 season.
The inception of the VAR in the Epl followed successful trials in different leagues across
Europe i.e the Bundesliga and La liga. It was introduced to provide a way for correction of clear
mistakes and errors missed by the referees. With it’s roll out in the Epl in the 2019/2020 season
after the EPL clubs unanimously voted for it’s introduction, it was touted as a real game changer
by managers and football stakeholders in the Epl, as it would provide an avenue for recourse for
errors made during matches. Before the inception of the VAR, the Epl had been dodged by
claims of bias and poor decision making by its referees. Managers who openly spoke against
clear mistakes made by the referees were reprimanded, fined and some suspended for a period
of time. The biggest casualty being the Special one, Jose Mourinho.
Luckily, the VAR came as a blessing to the oppressed teams. To bring about instant justice in the field of play, right the wrongs. Justice delayed is justice denied, the VAR was here to mete out justice instantly.
Unfortunately, with the conclusion of the 2019/2020 campaign in which Liverpool were
crowned Epl champions after 30 years, may questions have been raised on the efficacy of the
VAR system. Managers and stakeholders have criticized the VAR following a lot of contentious
decisions arrived at from the use of the VAR during matches. Penalties have been wrongly
awarded, players wrongly booked and some sent off unfairly. During the FA cup final pitting
Arsenal against chelsea, the sending off of Matteo kovacic raised questions on the decision of
the referee Martin Taylor after consulting the VAR. Football pundits argue that the send off was
undeserving.This is one of the many incidences where the VAR has been used not to dispense
justice. Many are calling either for complete phasing out of the system from the league or total
automation of the VAR system where it makes decision not relying on human referees as
currently is. Many argue that with it’s reliance on man for decisions, the system is ineffective
and creates room for more human mistakes and misjudgments. Many have also questioned the
number of penalties awarded to Manchester United, a total of 14 courtesy of the VAR.
Going into the new season, doubts will continue to linger and criticisms escalate if the system is
not improved. Being it’s inception season, the FA and Epl stakeholders have room to evaluate
and do a review of the system, improve it because the future of football is technology. The
system should also be fully automated to make decisions communicated to the field referee
devoid of his/her involvement in the decision making process. The future is indeed VAR and we
should all push for it’s full implementation.