To err is human” goes the famous adage, which is a short statement expressing a general truth, which basically means that it is normal for people to make mistakes. Interestingly, this proverb traces its origins back to Roman times and the Latin language – Errare humanum est – which English poet later translated, producing one of his most famous lines: “To err is human, to forgive divine.”
Everyone can make errors whenever doing something important, especially in the world team sports and particularly football, when a mistake can often sway the outcome of games one way or the other. Nevertheless, in an attempt to improve the accuracy and fairness of refereeing in football, federations around the world gradually introduced VAR to the beautiful game, largely with the intention of reducing controversy surrounding decisions.
What is VAR?
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The IFAB, football's lawmaker, says Artificial Intelligence-driven semi-automated VAR offside technology is on course to be used at this year's World Cup 😯 <a href=”https://t.co/TqVMAHqee2″>pic.twitter.com/TqVMAHqee2</a></p>— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ESPNFC/status/1536303669733474304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 13, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
VAR is actually an acronym for Video Assistant Referee, which formed part of the Refereeing 2-0 Project in the early 2010’s, initially proposed by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB). They tested the technology during the 2012-13 Eredivisie season, the top domestic league of the country. Pleased with the test results, the KNVB lobbied the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
After considering proposals for VAR in 2014, the IFAB approved further trials and published the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) protocols by 2016. While there were some dissenting voices throughout football, further trials proceeded and at the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, VAR made its debut at an elite official competition. This was quickly followed by the Australian A-League in 2017, becoming the first national league to adopt the new technology.
Since then, VAR has been widely embraced in top domestic leagues, continental competitions, and international tournaments. In March of 2018, IFAB proceeded to write VAR into the Laws of the Game on a permanent basis, albeit with provision to allow some competitions the right to refuse. The Italian Serie A and German Bundesliga introduced VAR by the 2017-18 season, followed by Spain’s LaLiga for 2018-19, then the English Premier League in 2019-20.
Technology hasn’t solved the human element
On the whole, statistics can prove that since VAR has been introduced throughout football, the number of refereeing errors has been significantly reduced, principally because contentious decisions may now be fully reviewed. However, the technology itself hasn’t eliminated one major factor which still remains crucial – the fact that humans are still in control of VAR usage. This means that if the technology is used poorly or inaccurately, mistakes are still made.
The key ingredient here as that just like before VAR was introduced in football, referees base decisions upon their own observations of incidents, then take appropriate action using the Laws of the Game. Even when using – or misusing – VAR technology, the overall number of mistakes may have been statistically reduced, yet it doesn’t prevent them from now being more glaringly obvious. Especially under the watchful eye of TV cameras.
Indeed, rather than having the desired result of reducing controversy surrounding certain refereeing decisions, the opposite appears to have transpired in modern football. This is particularly frustrating for fans who enjoy wagering on matches, especially having searched to find the most reliable and trusted online betting sites, based upon the latest in-depth analysis and reviews from SBO experts.
Juventus left fuming after VAR disaster
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Arkadiusz Milik scored a 95th-minute winner for Juventus.<br><br>He was shown a second yellow for taking his shirt off in the celebrations and was sent off. <br><br>VAR then ruled his winning goal out 😩 <a href=”https://t.co/DW8OJEREyF”>pic.twitter.com/DW8OJEREyF</a></p>— GOAL (@goal) <a href=”https://twitter.com/goal/status/1569065852020076545?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>September 11, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Now lambasted by GOAL website reporters as possibly the worst VAR decision of all time, Italian side Juventus were left utterly fuming after their 2-2 draw away at Salernitana in Serie A, having had what looks to have been a legitimate winning goal ruled out by those using VAR. Indeed, further camera reviews proved they were justified in complaining, as the conclusion of the match itself descended into absolutely chaotic scenes.
Juventus had made a spectacular comeback, from being two goals behind to levelling the score at 2-2 as they pushed for a winner. Deep into stoppage time, Arkadiusz Milik headed in what everyone thought was the winner, along with getting sent off due to celebrating a little too enthusiastically. Meanwhile, the goal was reviewed and then disallowed for offside, yet cameras indicated this was actually a huge mistake, as one of the Salernitana defenders was playing the Juventus attackers onside by several metres.
The biggest problem with VAR isn’t the technology itself, but whether the technology is being utilised suitably and correctly by match officials. There are still failures in communication, while adequate observation and inspection of incidents can also be found lacking, leading to continued mistakes. Humans will still “err” when making decisions, Juventus might not be ready to “forgive” just yet, but only further practice will perfect VAR usage on football.