Soccer is an all-encompassing game that requires equal amounts of strategy, athleticism, and finesse. The game is simply beautiful when played at a high level. Despite being one of the few flawless sports in the world, soccer has recently decided to add a video assistant referee, or VAR, to every match. This may seem like a small change, but it has altered the way the game is played and officiated. These are the four ways VAR has completely changed soccer.
Slows Down the Game
One of the great things about soccer is that there are no long breaks during the game. Fans do not have to sit around and wait for commercial breaks to end before the game resumes. If a goal is scored, then the players immediately set up to restart the game. This is no longer the case thanks to VAR. The game is now regularly stopped for several minutes every time there is a VAR review, which completely disrupts the flow of the game.
Fans Left Confused
The long delays during the review process are made even worse by the fact that the fans have absolutely no idea what is happening. There are many leagues currently that show a screen when VAR is being used to review a goal saying “VAR goal review” while not showing any footage to anyone in the stadium. The referee has no way to explain the review process or the final decision to the fans. While this is not a huge issue when watching a match on television, it takes away the electric atmosphere inside the stadium.
No More Game-Changing Bad Calls
Soccer is an extremely fast game that requires instant decisions by the referees, so it is not uncommon for them to make a few mistakes. These bad calls could swing the outcome of the match if the decisions were made at a crucial moment. Luckily, this will no longer be occurring thanks to VAR. The video review process ensures every key call is made correctly. This almost guarantees the right team wins every match, as every decision is still not 100% correct.
Referees Get Protected
Soccer fans are known for being extremely passionate. It is not uncommon for them to take their passion a little too far after a referee makes a bad call. Referees have an extremely difficult job, so they do not deserve to get lambasted by the media and fans after a bad game. With VAR backing up the referees on the field, they will no longer have to face intense scrutiny.