It’s iconic now,
England versus West Germany,
countries no longer existing,
old adversaries meeting
on a dappled pitch in late July,
still embroiled in controversy;
such as goals which were not goals,
views strictly dictated along partisan lines,
or the keen eye of a Russian linesman.
VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is at times making more headlines than the football (soccer) action these days.
The latest controversies, decisions which have swung on measurements of no more than a few millimetres, plus perhaps inconsistent interpretations of the offside rule, have affected the course of games and perhaps even decided the results of some.
For years there was a clamour for the use of such technology, now it seems many can’t wait to get rid of it. I also detect that there is a sense among some that the technology somehow favours the ‘bigger’ clubs, although I don’t think this is true.
However, when you examine the great majority of incidents, even if the decisions are minimal, they are invariably correct. Yet, as in some cases, a player is adjudged to be a few millimetres offside after the referee initially gave the goal, there is no leeway, no place for ‘commonsense’ or the application of the spirit rather than the rule of ‘law’.
My own opinion is that VAR should only be used sparingly, and, if an attacking player is only the merest snip offside through VAR but looks onside by the naked eye, then the referee’s original decision should stand and the benefit should go to that attacker, otherwise I believe the whole nature of the game (and it is a game) is surely in doubt in the long term.