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Is VAR good for football?
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Football does not need technology to prosper

Introducing technology would allow for interruptions to take place during a game. This may interfere with the momentum and provide teams with an unearned second-wind. Furthermore, longstanding football traditions would be broken.


Football is the most popular sport in the world. With or without technology, millions of people attend matches and follow their teams on a daily basis.

The Argument

Technology is an unwelcome addition to football. For hundreds of years, the game has prospered with 22 players and three officials on the pitch. Jumpers for goalposts and all that. Technology disrupts the game. As a fast-paced sport, the flow of a game will be disturbed by constant interruptions as referees review decisions. Attacking teams will lose momentum and teams under pressure gain respite they do not deserve. These interruptions may end up with so many delays that games will finish much later than planned. That will disrupt fans' schedules. It could force away fans facing a long trip home to leave matches early in order to get on the road or catch the last train home. The rules of football have barely changed over the years. It is perhaps easier to compare those players of the past with those playing today as they played under similar rules and conditions. Technology changes a lot of that and is a huge break with tradition. Ruing offside goals, phantom goals, shocking refereeing decisions and mistaken identity was all part of the fascination - to use Sepp Blatter's words - of being a football fan.

Counter arguments

Football may have prospered without technology, but for the majority of its existence, the technology was simply not available and not relevant. As technology advances, the game must move forward with the times in order to maintain peoples' interest. While technology can disrupt the game, a lot of the time - such as when a goal is scored or a red card issued - the game has already come to a halt so the overall flow of the game is barely affected. During the 2018 World Cup, the average VAR review lasted 80 seconds[1] and fears that games would be considerably lengthened - as they have been in rugby, for example - were unfounded. There have been plenty of subtle rule changes and it is difficult to compare players of different eras, not least because the boots players wear, the balls they kick and the pitches they play on are unrecognisable from those their predecessors experienced. While "taking the rough with the smooth" is a valuable life lesson and one that applies to sport, technology takes some of the frustration out of watching away - and is more likely to convert a casual fan into a committed one.



Bringing technology into football is at odds with the roots of the game, which has prospered for hundreds of years with few major changes. Football is a fast-paced game and constant reviewing of referees' decisions will add unnecessary disruption and delays to the game, putting fans off. Mistakes are all part of the game.

Rejecting the premises

Football has undergone change throughout its existence and technology is the logical next step to ensure it stays relevant and popular. Recent events have shown that technology does not delay the game as much as feared and it barely interrupts the flow as it only comes into play when the match is paused.


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 3 Jun 2020 at 16:33 UTC

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