VAR leaves some loose ends
I have written here before that VAR has convinced me more than I had expected. Not only has it corrected some mistakes (it aided Spain in that magical minute during Spain-Iran and Portugal-Morocco), but it is proving to have a positive influence on the behaviour of the players. There have been fewer protests, less play acting (Neymar aside) and fewer yellow cards, all as a natural consequence. The players now know that a 'Big Brother' exists, one who sees everything, so they use their elbows less, they behave better and that includes the habit of crowding around the referee. They know that if there is something important, it will go to the video screen.
VAR's loose ends to be addressed
That's all well and good, but there are still some loose ends to sort out, one of which I commented on the other day. It is not set up to review fouls or signal corners. So what do we do if a goal is scored from an incorrectly awarded free-kick, as many would argue happened in the final? And what if a goal comes from a wrongly given corner? Considering that 43% of the goals scored at this summer's World Cup came from a dead-ball situation, it's something we've had to reflect on. Perhaps VAR is not used for all free-kicks and corners, but only those that result in an immediate goal. Another loose end is that surrounding pulling in the area, obstructions, improper shielding. These will be more difficult to address.
Good, but by no means perfect
And so it remains, of course, that behind the machine, and on the pitch to make the initial and final decision, are humans, with their personal conditioning. And that results in the big fish being favoured against the smaller ones. In the final, Croatia complained. Before them, Morocco, Serbia and Iran felt aggrieved. Always the little ones. I don't think that with the new process we will eliminate the 'one rule for us, and another rule for them' double standard. In the end VAR does solve issues, but it is by no means perfect. We just need to admit this and not expect more than it can give us. If we do the same thing that happened in the first half of the final will occur in El Clásico... and we'll all be in the police station at the break.