VAR took centre stage at this summer’s World Cup. The chairman of referees says it is near to perfection. Besides the stats, is VAR working?
World Cup 2018 set records for goals and goalless games, while thrilling fans worldwide. Hooligan trouble expected through scare mongering, evaporated. Possibly due to the notorious Russian secret police, FSB, frightening the criminals away. Therefore, I hail the competition as a success.
Video Assistant referees have been initially trialled at a major international tournament. Chairman of referees, Pierluigi Collina, spoke about the competency, amendments and value of the VAR system, Friday. Insisting it is almost perfected.
Pierluigi Collina: background
Collina was the most respected ref’ in the game. At least, since I was aware; especially around 1995. Now involved in the bureaucratic element of the game: inevitably, in that arena, it is more difficult to maintain faith. At age 58, he has a wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts in the game.
His credentials are more than 25 years adjudicating matches in Serie A and international level. Kojak – as he is known – was arbiter the 2002 World Cup final. So is a uniquely positioned person to help unravel the mysterious, as well as notorious, VAR system. And now he has spoken on the subject. Along with providing statistical evidence.
While the chair of the referees’ committee would not make statements on individual incidents, he confirmed a FIFA suppression. Holding off-the-ball is being partially eradicated, apparently:
"“You might have appreciated there were some incidents that suddenly disappeared or started to be punished. It’s impossible to be right from the start but because we noticed, we intervened and we fine-tuned. Things have changed during the tournament.” – Pierluigi Collina (Via: The Guardian)"
However, most noteworthy is Collina’s assessment of the apparatus as a whole. In 48 games so far, was 335 incidents using VAR. Referees handled 14 on-field reviews. In addition to three offside reviews by VAR’s team. So we can deduce usage on average, seven times a game.
Consequently, per the Daily Mail, the chair said: “Before running you have to walk… You should look at pros and cons and experiment and see how things are.”
Subsequent to release of data to media and since evaluating, Collina has a pragmatic opinion: “VAR does not stand for perfection. There will still be mistakes. But 99 per cent is very close to perfection.”
The general consensus with pundits, pros, journos and supporters
Whether it works or not is one question; arguably, it is correctly answered by the adjudicator above.
In his Independent Sport column, Jonathan Liew astutely mentions how cricket evolved, adapted and ultimately benefits from a video assistance system.
Twitter user Liam Wright accurately assess that poignant and important moments will alter or change due to time restraints or pauses and annoying interludes.
Stan Collymore is no stranger to controversy or polarizing views. While his two first names sound like a bookie’s; he is a sure bet here. I instinctively agree.
Read the official FIFA World Cup judgement, on the link below:
In conclusion, I perceive VAR to be a triumph. Controversial; I know. I am also aware it affects celebrations and enjoyment. Although that pleasure would alleviate entirely if your nation did not rightly receive a contested penalty in the final. Yes it needs tweaks, nothing implemented is at first perfect.
Timing, development and improving assessments will materialise. BBC Sport concisely put it: ‘A fairer tournament, with a reduction in mobbing referees.’
What is your position on VAR? Before answering: ask a Swede; they would have been playing Brazil if not for it!