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VAR in Football: A Blessing or a Curse?

By Steve Halls, NexxtGen Football

In the aftermath of Liverpool's controversially disallowed goal against Tottenham last weekend, the debate surrounding the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system has once again taken centre stage. VAR, introduced to ensure fairness and accuracy in decision-making, has been both praised and criticised since its inception. From my perspective at NexxtGen Football, it's clear that the system has its merits, but it's far from a perfect solution.

Let's start by acknowledging the undeniable fact that football, with or without VAR, has always been a sport where decisions, whether rightly or wrongly, can shape the outcome of a game. As fans, players, and managers, we've all experienced the elation of a favourable decision and the frustration of an incorrect one. The hope is that, over the course of a season, these moments of fortune and misfortune balance out.

For those in favour of VAR, it serves as a safeguard against glaring errors that can alter the course of a match or even a season. It provides an opportunity for referees to review key incidents and make more informed decisions. As fans, we might argue that the system is essential in ensuring fairness and reducing the impact of human error on the beautiful game.

However, there's a flip side to this argument, and it's one that many Tottenham Hotspur fans, including myself, have experienced first-hand. The recent disallowed Liverpool goal is just one example of decisions going against a team. If we examine the Premier League table without VAR, Tottenham would find themselves at the top, highlighting how VAR has affected their season.

But this isn't just about one incident. Tottenham fans can recall several instances, both pre and post-VAR, where critical decisions went against their team. Pedro Mendes' infamous "goal that never was" is etched in the memory of every Spurs supporter. These incidents remind us that with or without VAR, contentious decisions continue to shape outcomes.

To gain further insights, I reached out to professional footballers and managers for their thoughts on VAR. Many expressed appreciation for the technology's potential to correct mistakes, but they also raised concerns about its impact on the flow and emotion of the game. Some suggested that VAR could benefit from clearer and more consistent guidelines to minimise controversy.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool's manager, acknowledged that VAR had helped correct errors but admitted that the system was far from perfect. "We want fair outcomes, but we also want the excitement and spontaneity of the game to remain intact," he said.

Tottenham's boss, Ange Postecoglou, shared his frustration with VAR's influence on results. "It's tough when you see points slipping away due to decisions that seem unfair. We need a better balance between technology and the spirit of the game," he commented.

VAR in football is a double-edged sword. It has the potential to correct injustices and uphold the principles of fairness, but it can also disrupt the natural flow and emotion of the game. The recent incident involving Liverpool and Tottenham serves as a reminder that decisions will always go for you or against you, with or without VAR. The hope remains that, over time, the scales balance out, but until then, the debate surrounding VAR will continue to rage on in the world of football.

Steve Halls

NexxtGen Football


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