Hear me out. When you weigh it up, whether you want to admit it or not, the VAR is making a positive difference.

Hang with me here. Let’s look at last week’s use of the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in round 22.

The Newcastle Jets were awarded a penalty in the 94th minute after Roy O’Donovan was fouled in the box. The kick was saved, but Daniel Georgievski scored off a rebound. But, because of VAR, the goal didn’t count – multiple players from both sides, including Georgievski, had entered the box before the kick was taken.

The penalty was retaken, and Central Coast Mariners goal keeper Ben Kennedy again parried the ball to safety. At this point in the game, the penalty kick was the difference between the Mariners taking home one point for a 3-3 draw, or bagging all three points with a 3-2 win. It was the VAR’s correct decision that rightly awarded the three points to the Mariners.

Embed from Getty Images

Again, we saw another example in round 22 in Melbourne Victory vs Brisbane Roar.

Kosta Barbarouses scored for Melbourne after a long ball from James Troisi found him over the top of the Roar’s defence. Originally, the on-field call from the assistant referee was that Troisi was offside. But the VAR checked this decision, and saw that Barbarouses was actually kept onside by the trailing leg of Ruon Tongyik. Because of the VAR, Barbarouses was able to keep his double and the goal stood for the Victory. And, yet again, this correct call from VAR would have been the difference between a 1-1 draw, and a 2-1 win for Melbourne Victory.

These VAR decisions have massive impacts on the momentum and outcomes of games. They affect the ladder depending on how many points each team is awarded, and they affect which teams make the finals. Without VAR, crucial errors are likely to go unnoticed, and they will inevitably have major impacts on teams later in the season when it comes to finals time.

Embed from Getty Images

Controversy surrounding the VAR is a familiar story in the A-League. I’m not denying that. But, to be fair, it only seems we acknowledge referees, and the VAR as an extension, when something goes wrong. Considering there hasn’t been as much talk about VAR of late, we can take it as a sign that they’re getting more calls right in the second half of this A-League season. It just takes time for people – referees, fans, players and coaches – to get used to how VAR works before it’s done flawlessly – or as close to as possible.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

And it’s not like the referees aren’t doing anything to improve their performances. Every week, Ben Wilson, FFA Director of Referee’s, reviews contentious VAR decisions. Actions like this show that VAR are heading in the right direction.

You can’t expect anything to be perfect right from the start. And all too often, we forget that referees are humans, capable of making mistakes. We can’t overlook how beneficial the VAR is to the game. It’s effective, and it’s here to stay.

 

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

SHARE
mm
Bachelor of journalism student from the University of Sydney covering Sydney FC. Passionate about writing and football.