Whether you like it or not, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology is coming.
In a bid to improve standards by giving the referee on the field the benefit of instant video replay, the Bundesliga will be formally adopting the technology next season. It will also be present at the 2018 World Cup, and both La Liga and the Premier League are aiming to use it by next year.
The new technology can be used in four key circumstances: to review irregularities in a goal decision (such as offside calls), to make penalty decisions, to pick up red card offenses unnoticed by the referee and to clear up cases of mistaken identity in bookings and red cards.
VAR certainly has its detractors. They claim that it will slow down the game, make celebrations anti-climactic and ruin the simple purity of the sport.
However, one may argue that the sport lost its purity at the top level a long time ago. Soccer is big business, where human error on the part of the referee can literally cost millions of dollars. Officiating, therefore, has to be as accurate as possible. Nowhere was the necessity for VAR made more clear than Sunday’s slate of Premier League games.
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