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VAR seems to be getting more publicity than it wanted, and not all of it good.
The latest is that the VAR official for the PSG - Newcastle game has been 'stood down' . . not the first (or last) and shows a definite lack of something for the way it's implemented.
Since the game began there have been decisions made by officials that are contentious and argued about by fans, managers, and players.
I'd say most football fans can recount hundreds of times a contraversial decision went for or against us, we moaned, we cried, we called the ref names and sang songs about him, and sometimes we laughed and jeered, taunting the opposition when things went our way.
At the end of the day we put it all behind us and carried on, although there are some incidents that remain rooted in memories for years, the ones that completely changed an important game, whether for promotion, relegation, or a decent cup run.
We still have those game changing decisions, some of which are embarassing, and some which can have a financial impact on clubs.
Have the new rules (laws), better training for match officials, technology and the introduction of VAR actually made the game better for the long suffering fans of 'dodgy' and inconsistent decisions?
Some technology I'd say yes, goal line technology for example. There's also technology that helps improve tactics, players fitness and performance, but that isn't an issue that affects fans enjoyment of a game.
What, exactly, is a 'clear and obvious error' if, for instance, an offside or penalty shout has to be decided by 4 minutes of looking at slow motion replays, from 7 different angles, of which 2 show yes, 2 show no, and 3 are inconclusive?
VAR sometimes trawl through footage from one minute before an incident, looking for (and sometimes finding) a small inconsistency that nobody noticed, which is then used to refute an officials decision.
VAR officials sometimes seem to have a different set of rules (laws) than the actual game officials do.
Why does one referee award a free kick (or penalty) for handball and a different ref waves play on?
Why does one 'shoulder barge' lead to a ticking off and another to a yellow card?
Why does one referee make allowance for shirt pulling and holding in the goal area at corners, yet another starts throwing cards around?
The answer is because they're human, we're not all the same, we see things differently, we have alternate views on the difference between a fair (but hard) challenge and a foul. Some referees like to keep a game flowing, some blow the whistle at every oppotunity, that's just how it is, and it's just bad luck if the game you're playing in, managing, attending or just watching, gets the referee that doesn't have the same outlook on things as yourself. They, and we, are not robots (yet).
My personal opinion, take VAR out of the game, let the officials do their job whether they do it to exact specifications or not. Don't turn the game into a sterile occasion with no atmosphere, no emotion, no instantaneous highs and lows. Let us talk about the 30 yard screamer that went in, and not the debatable niggly foul that occured 2 minutes before it that got it ruled out. We want to celebrate when the ball hits the back of the net, not 5 minutes later when a computer says we can (or can't).
People attend games for the thrill, the passion, the excitement, the camaraderie (and beer), and the nervous uncertainty of what may happen during 90+ minutes, whether good, bad, or just plain ridiculous.
An improvement isn't an inprovement if it changes nothing . . or makes it worse.
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