VAR Changes and It’s Impact on Games

For many football fans and lovers of the Premier League, Video Assistant Referees (VAR) has been nothing short of a nightmare. Frustration are evident as many have argued it has destroyed the game and sucked a lot of the life out of it.

Lengthy checks are obvious in case of a goal. This makes celebrating a goal sometimes hard to enjoy in the moment. Because the length of a toenail or the fact that an armpit is slightly offside has meant that the joy and jubilation that will have meant that it will have been all for nothing and will turn into frustration and anger.

Impact of VAR Decisions

Naturally, VAR decisions can have an impact on everyone involved with the game. Whether that be for punters betting on the Premier League or for the fans of the club and the football team itself. The decision can have a huge impact on a win or a defeat or a tie. Fortunes can change with one reverted decision.

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VAR Changes and It's Impact on Games
VAR Changes and It’s Impact on Games

Of course, there has been evidence that VAR can work in an efficient and effective manner with the UEFA 2020 European Championships. Perhaps being a benchmark in how it should operate. However, the Premier League is trying to ensure that it implements VAR just to ensure complete transparency .Ahead of the 2021/22 season, they brought in a number of rule changes to the technology. With each hopefully providing everyone with a better experience than the last couple of years has.

What are The Changes

Although there are a vast number of rule changes, there are three main changes to the system. With each of them having been provided to try and negate many of the negatives that were created because of the way it was used and applied to in-game situations. These changes are:

VAR Changes and It's Impact on Games
VAR Changes and It’s Impact on Games

  1. Offside calls will no longer be about whether a player’s toe or armpit is offside. As the millimetre approach that was being used will no longer be adopted as thicker lines will be used. Furthermore, the benefit of the doubt will return to the attacker. Like it once did before the tech was introduced. Whilst those who are obviously offside will be flagged so immediately as the delaying of the assistant referee’s flag will no longer be required. In addition, although perhaps controversially, the drawing of the lines will no longer be shown to viewers.
  2. Far too many penalties were given last season. So referees will now look to limit how many are allowed when they are deemed “soft”. This will effectively mean those players who look to go down with minimal contact will not be as rewarded as they may have been in the last couple of seasons.
  3. The handball law has undergone a number of changes recently. As the desired improvements actually had a negative impact, but it seems new changes are in place yet again. An accidental handball in an attacking situation will not be considered an offence. Same as it was over the last two seasons. When the ball immediately hit them, with referees now able to give them the benefit of doubt. If it is not clear that a movement was made in order to try and gain an advantage.

Conclusion

The rule changes outlined above should have a positive impact on the Premier League this season. As the referee’s whistle should be blown a little less frequently than it has over the last couple of years. Furthermore, there should also be fewer stoppages and delays in the game as fewer incidents should need to be checked. Whilst also being potentially less time consuming, especially with the introduction of thicker lines.

Of course, the technology and system is still relatively new for some of the officials. But these latest changes should help the game return to some familiarity over the course of the 21/22 season.

Garima Tomar

Senior Software Development Analyst at an IT firm

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