“The majority of rules in football are subjective. VAR won’t change that.”
Back in the summer of 2010 the topics of technology and video assistance, that had worked so well in other sports, weren’t on people’s lips in football circles.
It had been talked about but wasn’t seen as an urgent priority. Until a hot summer Sunday afternoon ten years ago.
It took a glaringly bad error that denied Frank Lampard a clear goal for England against Germany in the World Cup to set off a ripple effect, that would ultimately lead to the farcical technology situation we have today.
Everyone probably agrees that even if technology was in use that day, it would have had little bearing on the final result.
But the Lampard goal that never was fired FIFA into action and led to the introduction of goal line technology in the 2013/2014 campaign.
Most in the game will agree it has been a brilliant addition, technology that can give us a black or white, yes or no answer as to whether it is a goal or not.
It has worked, barring a mistake in the Aston Villa vs Sheffield United game last season.
The next stage was to be VAR. Those involved in implementing it thought it would rid the game of wrong refereeing decisions. How wrong they were.
On the face of it technology to make the game fairer is a good thing. It has worked in rugby, it clearly decides if a try is a try.
In cricket it decides if an LBW call is in fact out, and in tennis it works for close line calls.
But in football it was never going to 100 oer cent work. It will work to some extent but it will never fully work, and authorities can never expect it to fully work.
If we look at the main set of big decisions that are made in games.
On paper it should work for offsides. As people can see from the outpouring of anger and frustration from fans at the moment, it isn’t working because the rules have been so convoluted to a point where nobody knows what they are.
Handballs, as we have seen recently, also come into this category. Handball should be clear, but the changing of the rules has led to this becoming a grey area.
But the confusion surrounding the offside and handball rules can’t be blamed on VAR. It can be given the benefit of the doubt on this one.
As I’ve said, for goals it works. It is either in or it isn’t.
And the other rule that works when it comes to VAR is whether the ball is out of play or not.
Apart from that, VAR has not worked and it will never work.
Fouls, penalties, diving, violent conduct. VAR can never fully turn debatable decisions on rules such as these into correct ones.
One referee’s stone wall red card is another official’s yellow card. Another might not even think it warrants a booking.
The on pitch referee may see it as a dive, but the four over in Stockley Park might think it isn’t.
The rules stated above are subjective and you cannot always give definitive right decisions with the assistance of VAR.
That is why technology has not worked for those decisions and it never will, and when it comes to those points there may be a time in the not too distant future where the footballing authorities have to think about scrapping parts of the system.
Referees will make mistakes. They have always done so, but they will get more right than wrong over the course of the season.
In the days pre VAR, there would be injustices against every team due to refereeing decisions, some more than others.
What VAR is doing is opening referees up to further scrutiny, because if they get the call wrong with the assistance of technology, it makes them look even worse.
As the old saying goes, bad decisions over the course of a season for clubs even themselves out. For the vast majority this is true.
That will also happen with VAR. Bad calls will ultimately somewhere down the line even themselves out.
But if that’s the case, then what is the point in VAR at all?
It was introduced to rid the game of bad decisions and dampen down the flames that arise from them.
All it has done so far is fueled the fire.