The difficult task of enforcing the subjective rules of football

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Since its inception the VAR has been stealing headlines for all the wrong reasons.

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The video assistant referee (VAR) has already caused quite a stir this A-League season – each round has had a talking point involving the controversial technology.

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It was brought into the game to help referees and ensure correct decisions but continues to be at the centre of unnecessary controversy.

The VAR has been in use in the A-League since April 2017 and there’s still confusion on when it can be used. Even officials seem unsure of the procedure.

And when two referees have a different opinion on what a foul or handball can be, what hope is there?

Instances where the on-field decision looks to be incorrect, yet are upheld by the VAR, leave fans bewildered and confused on what the actual rules of football are.

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Goals are barely celebrated for the chance a player is mere millimetres offside.

VAR is tasked with rectifying ‘clear and obvious errors’, however more rulings are being corrected when no clear error is apparent.

To make matters worse, a lack of transparency in VAR decisions is a major annoyance for fans as decisions can be made with little-to-no clarification.

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A-League fans are increasingly pleading with the governing body to scrap the use of the technology that is consistently disrupting the beauty of the beautiful game.

The most recent VAR controversy that has stunned the A-League was the decision to uphold a handball in the box which gifted Melbourne City a penalty. Wellington Phoenix right back Louis Fenton was adamant the decision would be overruled and, judging from the replays shown and the new handball rule, it seems that VAR got this one wrong.

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In its current state, VAR is having a negative impact on the A-League and stifling the passion and excitement that football exudes. There’s a fear that the use of VAR has gotten to a point which is hampering the development of the game.

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Feature image credit: FIFA

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James Watts
James Watts
Love everything about football, even when your team loses after being 2-0 up in a certain Grand Final!

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