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Video assistant Referee is known as VAR is a match official who reviews the decision made by the referee on the field if needed. There have been a lot of speculations regarding this system since its implementation into football. Many players and managers look onto this system as positive while many professionals consider it a negative side of the football. Other sports like cricket rugby all had been using a similar system for a long time, in that respect football took too long to instate such a system to the game.

In the past many critical matches of a tournament ended in controversies like Maradonna’s ‘Hand of Goal’ against England in 1986 World Cup or perhaps the Theirry Henry’s handball which allowed France to progress to the FIFA World Cup 2010 or the UEFA Champions League semifinal between Chelsea and Barcelona in which the referee gave a series of wrong decisions which enabled Chelsea from reaching the finals or Lampard’s goal against Germany in knockout stages of World Cup 2010 which was disallowed or the 2017 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between PSG and Barcelona which is often referred as the biggest comeback in football history, had many arguable situations during the game.

But after the introduction of VAR those unfair decisions have been ruled out like in the last season the Round of 16 match between PSG and Manchester United in UEFA Champions League match when Manchester United was awarded a penalty due to a handball right at the dead-end of the 2nd leg match which was converted, thus, eliminating PSG from the tournament but fans and players were furious after the game ended continuously questioning the decision taken by VAR whether it was really a penalty or not as they thought the better team got stamped out of the tournament by unfair means.

                                                              Neves scores an equalizer

The same thing happened during the quarterfinals in the UEFA Champions League last season between Manchester City and Spurs. When Manchester City scored the winning goal under the 90th-minute mark but was ruled out due to offside. It’s painful to see how all the celebration goes in vain in a single second. Thus this system hurts and at the same time gives justice depending on which end a fan is. Bundesliga and Seria A brought in VAR at the beginning of the season 2017-18 while La Liga did the same a year later and now recently Premier League have started using VAR from this season and has already played a significant role in the game between Manchester City and West ham in the opening weekend though we have already seen the use of VAR in FA CUP and CARABAO CUP in England. VAR was used in the knock out stages of the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League last season and is to be used from the group stages this season.

Moreover, referees get a second chance to perfectly judge an incident and then come to a conclusion and that is fair enough as referees are humans after all and they can miss an incident or give a wrong decision during the game. Neither can we overlook the excitement and the buzz that is created around the stadium or the tension we feel at home when the referee suddenly halts the match in order to give a vital decision? The suspense and the drama add a different atmosphere and dimension to this beautiful game when both sets of fans wait for the call. We often remember a game because of certain decisions taken by the referee that completely changed the perspective of the game. But the biggest negative side of the system is the “time” aspect. VAR really breaks the momentum of the game, as much excitement, it provides the stop in play can also be a tad annoying especially during dying moments of the match.

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Ronaldo and Messi in action during the match between Juventus vs Barcelona ©️ Reuters

In some cases, the referee takes too long to rectify an incident and the celebration have to be put on hold especially for winning goals and when the call is made the players don’t hug each other instead they look at the referee. Now that the facility of VAR is there, players try to convince referee by tending him to check every small incident but the rules don’t state so, VAR will step up only if there is a chance of an obvious error thus wasting more time which in turn could lead to unexpected advantages or disadvantages for the two teams.

For the critics recently the UEFA Super Cup final in Istanbul between Chelsea and Liverpool is a good example to question the implementation of VAR. In the second half of the extra time when Liverpool was leading 2-1, Tammy Abraham fell on the ground due to slightest of touch from Liverpool’s second-choice goalkeeper Adrian, seeing it for the time through naked eye referee gave a penalty which was immediately reviewed by VAR but due to lack of cameras on the field the officials couldn’t find the definite angle to analyze the incident hence the initial decision from the referee on the field stood which was converted by Jorginho thus taking the game into penalties where Liverpool won their fourth Super Cup . to

Though I am a Chelsea fan since birth, still I think we didn’t deserve the penalty, it was a harsh decision. Since Liverpool won their fans overlooked the matter but the situation would have been different if Chelsea were the victorious team that night. No one can say the idea of Video Assistant Referee is a bad one but the implementation of the system is an issue. to

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