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Is VAR good for football?
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Technology is part of the game but it isn't perfect

There is still work to do to refine how technology is used during matches


FIFA trials technology extensively before introducing it to major tournaments and leagues. However, it does not always work perfectly even once the testing phase is complete. As other sports have shown, refinement is a necessary ongoing process.

The Argument

FIFA first trialled goalline technology in 2007, although then-President Sepp Blatter stopped it being implemented at the highest level. When change followed in 2010, nearly three years of trials followed before the system was ready for the 2014 World Cup. The VAR system remains a work in progress. It was first trialled in the Netherlands in 2013-14. Although it made its debut in the World Cup in 2018, some leagues - notably the Premier League - refuses to use it,[1] citing issues with its implementation and calling for further refinement and clarification. One of the biggest criticisms of the VAR system is that it is not transparent enough. Fans and coaches are not clear whether the referee is reviewing a decision because he has been asked to or he has decided to himself. In some cases, exactly what is being reviewed is unclear. Furthermore, other issues have presented including cameras being obscured, technical problems and unwelcome delays to the game. However, no system will be perfect right from the start and football might be encouraged by the example of other sports. The technology used in other sports, including cricket, rugby and tennis, has undergone significant changes since its introduction. You can never completely exclude the possibility of technical issues and fears that games would become disproportionately extended thanks to VAR have proved unfounded.

Counter arguments

Technology should only be implemented in football - and any sport - once it is proven to be as accurate as it possibly can be. Alternatively, it should be limited to the areas in which it excels. With regard to the VAR system, that would see it limited to perhaps merely offside goals, penalty decisions and mistaken identity. It is strange that while FIFA introduces VAR to the World Cup, it is still being trialled in other competitions. The Premier League may, therefore, never be satisfied with it. Even when other sports have introduced technology, they are still facing challenges to make sure it works for all parties.



Technology is now part of football and here to stay. However, the VAR system in particular remains a work in progress and still needs to be improved to make the game as fair as possible. How FIFA does this in the years to come will define whether leagues that are currently opposed to its use finally come on board.

Rejecting the premises

FIFA has rushed to implement technology without fully trialling it or ensuring it is almost 100% accurate. Those who oppose the technology will likely never be satisfied, whether football learns from other sports or not.


This page was last edited on Thursday, 4 Oct 2018 at 10:58 UTC

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