VAR to potentially be given sweeping new powers

This news is not likely to decrease any frustrations surrounding VAR at the moment.

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Frustrations surrounding VAR seem to have reached a fever pitch this season after a series controversial decisions in high profile games have shun a light on errors and a lack of clarity surrounding the officiating process.

From Luis Diaz’s goal that falsely ruled out for offside in Liverpool’s game vs Tottenham earlier in the season, to Newcastle’s controversial winner vs Arsenal in which it looked like Gabriel Magalhaes was fouled by goalscorer Anthony Gordon, VAR has been in the spotlight like never in recent months.

A new report from The Times has increased fears that VAR could could cause even further delays.

On top of reports from earlier today from a meeting between officials from the International Football Association Board (Ifab) that the sin-bin could be introduced into the professional game, more developments from the meeting have surfaced.

“It is understood the VAR working group wants lawmakers to decide whether video replays should be used in an attempt to increase further the accuracy of decision-making.

“At the moment, free kicks and corners are decided entirely by the on-field officials, and there have been examples of a wrong decision contributing to a goal being scored, leading to controversy.

“VARs cannot decide on second yellow cards either, which has led to players who were wrongly cautioned being sent off.”

If VAR were given the powers to intervene in corners, free-kicks and yellow cards, one can imagine frustration relating to delays on the pitch increasing hugely.

Former Premier League referee Peter Walton is against increasing the powers of VAR.

“I always go back to the basis of VAR, and in 2018 we wanted it to be minimal interference for maximum benefit — that was David Elleray’s [the Ifab technical director] phrase,” Walton said. “We looked at the TMO [television match official] in rugby and thought it was opening the door too wide.

“We wanted to keep it down to clear and obvious errors the match officials didn’t see or had mistaken.

“Now some people are looking at it to always come to the correct decision, but it was never meant for that, it was meant for things like the ‘Hand of God’ [goal scored by Maradona against England]. I wouldn’t want to see it opened up any more as the game is very, very subjective.”


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