Together with the usual transfer speculation this week’s football news has been dominated by the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (“VARs”) in England.
VARs have slowly been introduced into the sphere of football. Rugby union has implemented television match officials (TMOs) since 2001, cricket has benefitted from Hawk-Eye since 2001 whilst the 2006 US Open was the first grand-slam tennis tournament to use Hawk-Eye. Football, however, has only recently started to accept this role of technology within the sport, but it is likely to stay.
What is VAR?
Sports Shorts has previously published a guide to the VAR technology and how it can be used and will continue to track developments during the initial stages of its introduction into the English game.
To summarise, Video Assistant Referees are trained match officials who review incidents on a screen and report to the match day referee as to the outcome of the incident. VARs can only be used in four “match-changing” situations: goals, penalty decisions, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity by the referee.
However, VARs can only review an incident where the match day referee draws the outline of a TV screen to notify the VAR, players and spectators that an incident will be reviewed. The VAR then assesses the incident via a monitor and reports back to the referee who will make a decision based on this assessment. Players may be booked if they aggressively mimic the referee’s gesture to implore him to call for a VAR decision.