Video assistant referee (VAR) technology has been widely adopted by significant leagues and tournaments throughout the world, and though there have been controversies around its use, the Premier League is set to approve the use of it in the 2019-20 season. Football has been reluctant to adopt the VAR technology, despite other sports such as rugby, tennis, and cricket having approved the use of “hawk eye” and video replays several years back.

Goal-line technology was introduced in football back in 2012, after a series of high profile errors, such as Frank Lampard’s goal in 2010 at the World Cup against Germany, which for many should not have been allowed. The VAR will be used when missed incidences and clear errors are reviewed during the game, to ensure that there is fair play during football matches. The decisions which will need the VAR to assist the centre referee include; straight red cards, awarding of a goal, awarding of penalties and finally, mistaken identities during gameplay.

How the VAR Works

If there is any decision which needs to be made in line with the earlier stated incidences, the officials who are in the VAR room will check for the obvious and clear errors, and if any mistake is spotted, the officials notify the centre referee via a headset. When informed, the referee can either overturn the initial call he had made, ignore the VAR officials advice or decide to check the video replay himself by using a monitor stationed at the side of the field.

The VAR technology before its introduction was extensively tried in the Netherlands and America, whereafter the Australian A-league became the first professional football league to use VAR back in 2017, followed by the Confederation Cup in Russia and major league soccer later in the year. In Europe, the Italian Serie A and the German Bundesliga became the first leagues to use VAR in the 2017-18 season.