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Is VAR good for football?
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VAR makes football fairer

More correct decisions leads to a level playing field for both sides


The technology football now uses means that certain decisions can - in theory - no longer be awarded incorrectly. No more controversy over whether a ball crossed the goalline. All goals are checked for offside, eliminating offside goals being unfairly given.

The Argument

Goalline technology came too late for West Germany in 1966 - some fans still refuse to believe Geoff Hurst's second goal crossed the line - and England in 2010, when Frank Lampard's shot against Germany definitely crossed the line. However, since its introduction to the World Cup in 2014, it has worked seamlessly and those arguments are consigned to the past. Players know that if a goal is scored, it will be awarded. Likewise with offsides under the VAR system, players know that if a player was offside when he or she scored, play will be brought back. That creates a level playing field and helps enhance the fairness in which the game is played. It ends debates over whether a team fairly or unfairly won a match, especially because the more technology is used, the fewer obvious fouls are being missed by match officials.

Counter arguments

The main counter argument to technology making the game fairer is that it comes at the cost of constant stoppages and reviews for every single goal scored, every single penalty award as well as other infringements. Judging whether a ball has crossed the line or a player is offside is not the same as judging whether a player has committed a bad foul or deliberately handled the ball to gain an advantage. In that sense, fairness is only relative.



Where the laws of the game are objective and there is a clear either/or option for referees to take, technology has taken that decision out of their hands. Goalline technology alerts the referee as soon as the ball is over the line, eliminating the potential for errors. Likewise with the offside rule, whereas previously it was up to the referee and his assistants to judge in real time whether a player had strayed offside, now whenever a goal is scored, the VAR system is used to check whether offside should have been called. Again, this eliminates potentially unfair goals being awarded.

Rejecting the premises

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter was among those keen to avoid introducing technology into football, claiming that it would only lead to frustration[1]. However, even he changed his stance following the Lampard header against Germany in the 2010 World Cup. The old adage is that over time, good and bad luck will even out, so therefore even without technology, any team will get its fair share of good and bad decisions.


This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 15:26 UTC

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