A considerable amount of controversy in football, particularly in the Premier League, has been caused by the recent introduction of video assistant referees (more generally referred to as VAR), although there have been times when the VAR has also caused issues on a larger scale.None more so than at the FIFA Football World Cup in Russia in the summer of 2018, during the opener of Group B between Spain and Portugal in Sochi, when Spain’s Diego Costa crashed into Portugal’s defender Pepe in the 24th minute, elbowing him in the chest. Costa thundered the ball into the net as Pepe hit the ground. The referee during the match, Gianluca Rocchi, with Spain celebrating, interacted with his VAR at a time when he was 1620 kilometres away and sitting in a Moscow video operations room. He decided that, despite Costa ‘s actions obviously being foul play and a violation of the rules, the purpose was allowed to stand.The truth is, the general opinion was that with many previous events asking for a video assistant, the implementation of VAR was seen as a masterstroke. While for well over a decade this had been a success in other sports such as rugby league, it was obvious that ยูฟ่าเบท teething issues still persisted.
There were a total of 109 VAR events in 2019-20 that resulted in the on-field decision being reversed. Of those 109 decisions, 27 lead to the award of goals, 56 lead to the denial of goals, 22 to award a penalty, 7 to reverse a penalty and 4 to retake penalty decisions (one of which was scored and three were missed). There was a bias of 32.5 percent goals allowed vs 67.5 percent disallowed, taking only the decisions to allow or disallow a goal.Of the goals ruled out by the clear majority, 34, with 14 decisions, were the second most common explanation for offside handball. Conversely, only 8 of the 27 goals awarded were granted for an incorrect offside and two goals for an incorrect handball decision were permitted.
Every single team had at least one reversed ruling against them, aside from Newcastle. Brighton, who ended up with 8 points more than they would have had if there were no VAR, was the team that benefited most in terms of additional points earned. This consisted of a total of 12 overturns leading to two goals for and two disallowed goals but no permitted goals against and 7 overturned goals for their opposition. This had a huge impact as Brighton finished with VAR on 41 points but could have had just 33 points without it, which would have relegated them.Despite a -4 VAR score, West Ham and Aston Villa both prevented relegation, while both Watford and Bournemouth, who were relegated, could have avoided the drop if not for their -2 VAR scores. With a -7 VAR ranking, Norwich suffered in particular, although this would not have prevented them from finishing bottom.
Liverpool gained from two points, but this was immaterial as they won the league with 18 points. With a net score of +7, Manchester United saw the greatest VAR advantage at the top of the table, without those VAR points United would have finished outside the Champions League spots while Wolves would have qualified with a -5 difference.Looking at Brighton ‘s total decisions again, along with Manchester United, they had the most with 10 decisions in their favour. Eight decisions were taken by Crystal Palace, Leicester, Man City, Southampton and Tottenham. Wolves, Watford, Norwich and Aston Villa just had 2 decisions in their favour at the other end. West Ham went against them with 10 decisions, followed by Norwich with 9 and Man City and Sheffiled United with 8. As reported, Newcastle had no decisions against them, Brighton had only two and Liverpool and Manchester United had three.
There have been many requests for a VAR in football over the last few decades, and definitely since the advent of the Premier League, when replays of goals have revealed several that should never have stood or times where goals were not scored when they should have been.The qualifying play-off game for the 2010 World Cup, when Thiery Henry, who until then had a virtually unblemished career, intentionally hand-balled to score and eventually ensured that France went through, was perhaps one of the most famous scenarios and one that still divides opinion, particularly among Republic of Ireland football fans.Later that year at the tournament, both the referee and the linesman found Frank Lampard’s long-range attempt against Germany not to have reached the line, as replays revealed that the ball bounced at least two feet over the line before coming back out.
Throughout the Premier League season, there were also several times where even fans of rival clubs called for the implementation of VAR, not least those fans of clubs who were playing Manchester United, where Sir Alex Ferguson was accused of bullying referees to make his side decisions. Perhaps one of the most unforgettable instances of this was when, when it came to overcoming the offside pit, the deadly frontman Ruud van Nistlerooy led the line, with the Dutchman considered to be the master. Currently, when he was at least one yard offside, there were several occasions when these decisions were either ignored or officials opted not to threaten Ferguson’s wrath.Ironically, the implementation of VAR has now had the opposite result of what maybe many people might have expected at that particular time, with games now suspected of being spoiled because VAR stops so many players for being offside, and as such the implication is that there are now more stoppages in play than maybe needed.
It was also the year that under Rafael Benitez, Liverpool won the Champions League and while everyone knows the historic final, not many people would have been familiar with the semi-final against Chelsea’s intense rivals at the time.It looked like the game was heading for a stalemate and probably penalties for all intents and purposes before Spaniard Luis Garcia was actually considered to have scored what has become known as a ‘ghost goal’ with the latter replays not shedding too much light on the incident. A move that was greeted with indignation at a raucous Anfield by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
The World Cup final between England and West Germany arguably yielded one of the most successful controversial goals in English history in 1966, and as a result, there are still issues regarding the second goal of Sir Geoff Hurst. Hurst rocketed the ball into the underside of the crossbar after a cross from Alan Ball. While it is unclear from the video if it was a goal, the goal was first awarded by the linesman and then referee Gottfried Dienst, with Hurst then moving on to finish his hat-trick.Perhaps one of the most noticeable occasions where a VAR was meant to occur was when Tottenham Hotspur visited Old Trafford in 2004, having been the victim of bad luck against Manchester United. Pedro Mendes took a shot from halfway with the game drifting toward a goalless draw and caught goalkeeper Roy Carroll unaware, with the Northern Irishman spilling the ball over the line. It was the acting of Carroll that made the officials (who were nowhere near the action) conclude that it was not an objective.