VAR: Six years between applause and rejection

On September 1, 2016, on the pitch of the San Nicola stadium, in Bari, Italy, the history of modern football would begin to be written, because for the first time the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) It was officially tested in a friendly match between the Italian National Team and the French team.

With a view to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, VAR would be tested for the first time in an official competition at the 2016 Club World Cup, being used in the two semifinal matches: Kashima Antlers vs. Atlético Nacional and Real Madrid vs. América.

After two years of testing, in which opinions could not have been more divided, VAR had its greatest test at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Subsequently, soccer leagues around the world would gradually incorporate it.

Since its inception, the most critical pointed to VAR as a way to “kill” football, since they considered that technology slowed down the game and took away that essence that it had from its origin. On the other hand, its defenders appealed to the VAR to impart the justice that football often lacked, Well, arbitration was often overwhelmed in important situations that marked a very different course than it should have been.

VAR has changed the way football is viewed, but from its inception to the present day, it remains a polarizing tool. IMAGO7


Almost four years after his debut

The first time VAR was used in Liga MX was on matchday 13 of Apertura 2018, at the Jalisco stadium in the duel between Atlas and Veracruz.

Adonai Escobedo went to the VAR to consult a possible penalty against Juan Pablo Vigón and thus the first penalty marked with video arbitration in the history of Liga MX was in favor of Atlas.


With a lot to improve

It is a fact that the VAR itself was well designed and so far it operates adequately, however, the point to improve is not in the system, nor in the cabins, nor in the machines, but in those who operate them: the referees.

There are officials who, as already mentioned, have become dependent on VAR and expect the technology to dictate everything that happens during the match.

And the big problem continues and will continue to be the referee’s interpretation of the plays, sometimes due to lack of knowledge of the rules or lack of football experience.

As long as the referees do not improve their level in decision-making, the VAR will not be able to express its maximum potential and will be far from fulfilling its primary objective.

VAR decisions influence markers. AP


fairer results

The greatest technological advance in football occurred with video arbitration.

And although not everything has been positive, within a very specific plane, VAR allows football to be fairer.

Through this tool, the referee has been able to modify decisions such as a badly drawn red card, or change a yellow card for an expulsion. In some cases, it has reduced the number of ghost goals (especially when you don’t have the hawk eye) and has also allowed the whistler to not be constantly fooled by players, as it used to be before its existence.

Now the referee can check if there really was a foul inside the area or if it was the simulation of a footballer. They can also notice aggression that they were not able to see with the naked eye.

All these elements have allowed football to have a dose of justice in each match in which VAR is implemented.


The referee’s criteria is overshadowed by the VAR. IMAGO7


The referees sharpen their crisis

The big problem with video arbitration is that for every thing that has improved, there is even more than one that has gotten worse, and it is largely due to misuse of the tool.

The misuse that the referees have given to the VAR has generated that the controversy is greater than before the technology came to football.

Although the tool works perfectly, it is the referee who continues to apply his judgment and in some matches this has had a negative impact, Well, although the images show something clearly, the referee’s interpretation has come to be totally contrary.

Another of the serious problems that VAR has is the loss of time. In their application in European football they are not exempt from it, In Mexican soccer, up to 10 minutes per game have been lost in the use of video arbitration.

In turn, the referee has become dependent on the VAR and there are fewer and fewer whistlers who dare to trust their criteria first and leave everything to technology.


Confederations 2017



Germany vs. Chili

Gonzalo Jara elbows Timo Werrner in the face. The referee goes and checks in the VAR; Despite the obvious aggression, he only shows a yellow card for the Chilean.

America’s Cup 2019



Brazil vs. Argentina

The referee decides not to sanction two clear penalties even with the support of the VAR. The first: a stomp by Dani Alves on Sergio Agüero and in the second, Arthur Melo blocked Nicolás Otamendi in a play more typical of the NFL.

In the end, Lionel Messi exploded and denounced that the arbitration was unfortunate throughout the Cup.

Champions League 2019



Manchester City vs. Tottenham

The Quarter Finals between Citizens and Spurs were as vibrant as they were controversial, as Tottenham qualified for the semi-finals with an aggregate score of 4-4, favored by the away goal.
The controversy came with the goal of the pass for the team then directed by Mauricio Pochettino, because Fernando Llorente scored the goal with his hand and after a long review, in the VAR they were never able to show the referee the shot where it is clearly seen that the Spanish striker leaned on his hand and the goal went up to the scoreboard.

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VAR: Six years between applause and rejection