Video Assistant Referee branded a ‘Shambles’

Lee Dixon did not hold back when discussing VAR after Germany’s Confederations Cup Final win. He described the new VAR technology as a “shambles.”

VAR which simply stands for Video Assistant Referee was trialled for the first time throughout the Confederations Cup and it has not fallen short of controversy. Many had called for video to be brought into Football in order to make the game fair, it has been used successfully in many sports across the world including Rugby and Cricket.

How does VAR work?

Fahad Al Mirdasi Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The main match referee can choose to use VAR if they think they’ve missed or need further help with decisions, all of the match officials (including the assistants watching the match on the screens) can suggest to the referee that he should use the technology. If the referee chooses to use the VAR, then he can either trust the decision of the VAR referee or go over to the screen, which is situated between the dugouts, to make a decision based on the video replays himself.

Confusion and Controversy

It works well in rugby and cricket, but ITV panelist Lee Dixon said football will now be seen as a ‘laughing stock’ to the rest of the sporting world due to the failure of VAR at a major competition. Fans cannot hear what the referees are debating so it leaves several long delays where no-one around the stadium or fans watching on TV back at home knows what is going on. Add to this that the match clock doesn’t stop resulting in a lot more extra time at the end of the 90.

VAR led to the wrong player being carded in Cameroon’s clash with Germany, referee Wilmar Roldan sent off Sebastian Siani instead of Ernest Mabouka. However, after a second look due to interaction from other officials he rescinded Siani’s second yellow and proceeded to send off Mabouka.

In Australia’s match with Germany VAR yet again failed, Tom Juric appeared to handle the ball in the lead up to his goal for the Aussies. After reviewing VAR which clearly shows Juric using his hand, the goal was allowed to stand.

In tonights final involving Germany and Chile, Chilean Jara appeared to purposely elbow Red Bull Leipzig forward Timo Werner, the referee saw the foul and went over to check VAR, it was a clear red card, but after reviewing the video Milorad Mazic brandished Jara with a yellow card, this resulted in Jara laughing as he could not believe he got away with such a horrid foul.

Will we see VAR again?

According to FIFA’s head referee, Massimo Busacca, VAR was used a total of 35 times in 12 games, 6 times for “game-changing decisions” and a further 29 times for “major incidents.” It remains to be seen if VAR will feature in future tournaments, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the system has been a “great success.” I don’t think Lee Dixon or fans around the world will agree…

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