Referees will get a view from a-VAR when England play Germany tonight
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
VARs would have certainly come in handy during previous clashes between England and Germany. Whether it was Geoff Hurst's goal in the 1966 World Cup final or Frank Lampard's disallowed strike in the 2010 competition, games between the sides have not been without controversial goal-line incidents. The technology is hoping to put future cases beyond any doubt, as it makes its first official debut in a UK football game.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology is being used for the first time when England meet Germany at Wembley tonight in an international friendly. The Three Lions are no stranger to the technology, the BBC reports, experiencing the new system last June against France when Raphael Varane was sent off for bringing down Dele Alli for a penalty.
It was used in its first trial in the UK without incident during the 2017 Wembley Cup charity match last night, but this will be the first time it is used in an official game in the country.
VARs will also be making an appearance in this year's FA Cup. The Football Association announced in March that they will be used from the third round onwards during the 2017/18 season. FA chief executive Martin Glenn believes the game will be improved on the back of it, arguing the technology has made "terrific progress".
Video assistant referees (or VARs) will be used for four "match-changing incidents" in the FA Cup: the award of goals; penalty or no penalty; direct red cards (not for second yellow cards); and cases of mistaken identity.
The VAR is not a single person - a video assistant referee can consist of a trio of officials: the video assistant referee, their assistant and a replay operator. This team, Goal.com defines, "work together to review certain decisions made by the main referee by watching video replays of the relevant incidents".
The referee on the pitch can either ask to review the footage on a decision, or the VAR can recommend it; the referee can either choose to stick with their decision, review the footage or overturn the call on the VAR's advice.
The introduction of VARs were intended to allow football take centre stage, and not the decisions, the Independent argues. The technology is "healthy for the entire game to adjust to a reality where refereeing decisions are not seen as the primary factor in every single result", with clashes between officials and players (and management) being the tiresome part of the game. As VARs creep into the game, taking each step tentatively, the opposite is happening; and VARs are the talking points, perhaps even more than the usual refereeing decisions, sans the technology.
England play Germany in an international friendly at Wembley tonight (K.O. 8pm), with the game available to watch on ITV.