VAR already hated?

It's already getting criticism from fans and professionals


VAR in the Premier League: How did first Saturday go for technology in top flight?

VAR has arrived in the Premier League and, as expected, it is already dividing opinion.

After a quiet debut in England's top flight on Friday, with no high-profile reviews required in Liverpool's opening-day win over Norwich, it took centre stage on Saturday.

The Premier League has spent two years monitoring its use in a host of other competitions, including major European leagues, the Women's World Cup, the Champions League and the FA Cup - and has developed its own set of guidelines for how it will be used.

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Is VAR already ruining the Premier League?

By Joe Harker

It's the first matchweek of the first season that VAR has been introduced all across the Premier League, so naturally there has been much controversy and complaint.

Video replay technology will now play a part in every Premier League match which means there's 380 occasions for moaning about how VAR has ruined the beautiful game.

Manchester City's 5-0 demolition of West Ham was one of the most talked about games of the first round of games, with VAR taking up a significant part of the conversation.

The Claim:

Fans have already had a go at video replay technology after the City vs West Ham game, with the Daily Mirror reporting that some disgruntled viewers consider football to be "ruined".

During the game VAR ruled out a Man City goal for being marginally offside, with a matter of millimetres in the decision, and forced a penalty to be retaken after Declan Rice was penalised for enroachment.

West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski saved the first effort from Sergio Aguero but conceded the retake.

VAR correctly overturned both decisions but the controversy came with the hold up to play. Was it really worth breaking the flow of the match to call someone a minuscule amount offside or demand a penalty be retaken?

It used to be that football fans and pundits would rage at individual refereeing mistakes, now everyone is criticising the same thing. VAR has given a name to their pain, becoming a lightning rod for the fury of thousands involved in football.

The Counter Claim:

On the other hand, the point of VAR is to ensure the correct decision gets made and the decisions it was used to overturn ended up being the right call.

It's up to people to decide what's more important, either you accept VAR (not necessarily in the current form) and strive to have the rules of the game followed or you put up with mistakes and wrong calls playing a part in results to keep things moving and provide a more entertaining spectacle.

At the heart of it is a question over what football is really about. Is it a sport to be played properly or entertainment to be enjoyed even if it means overlooking certain infractions?

Supporters of VAR would argue the former, pointing out that while technology can be disruptive it's also not much fun to come away from a game that was decided by an incorrect decision.

The controversial calls over the weekend ensured the correct decisions got made. Is that more important than guaranteeing an entertaining spectacle for fans?

The Facts:

VAR will now oversee all Premier League games, being used in major incidents to check refereeing decisions and ensure the correct call is made.

The technology is intended to be used for "clear and obvious errors" and "serious missed incidents" in four instances. Goals, penalties, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

All goals will be checked to ensure the officials didn't miss anything during the game.

Trialled in 69 FA Cup games last season, there were a total of 14 reviews with an average check time of 84 seconds. There will be far more reviews in the Premier League from now on but the check time is expected to fall as officials get used to using the technology.

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