VAR's unexpected fallibility
I was tipped off about this from our 'in-house' referee Iturralde that in the majority of domestic top flight games where a standard number of cameras are utilised, the area of margin for incorrect off-side decisions is approximately 7%. This is a significant amount (or excessive depending on ones degree of meticulousness). A late night Spanish television called 'El Chiringuito', which is more famous for pundits spending the duration of the programme hurling insults at each other has actually carried out closer studies on controversial decisions and one of the most significant findings is that the first goal scored by Leganés against Barça on Wednesday night at Butarque was actually offside.
This is now just a case of bad luck, bad luck for the side on the receiving end of a goal (in this particular case, FC Barcelona) that was marginally (very marginally it has to be said) offside and was something not picked up by the team of officials in the VAR booth. Up to this point of the season and since it's introduction, VAR has overturned or rectified few refereeing decisions but it has to be said that if the creators of the system acknowledge that there is a 7% area of margin for error relating to offside decisions, that in my book is almost unacceptably high. Had the first goal in Butarque been ruled out, then the outcome of the match could have been different but as it stands Barça were beaten and one (being extremely matter-of-fact) could argue that a draw should have been the fairer outcome.
Here for good
So, VAR is not some wonderful invention without a single flaw, it's simply an aid to the human eye. On the field of play a match referee is deeply engaged in the minute-by-minute emotion and tension that controlling a high profile football match entails, he is now assisted by colleagues watching the same action unfold through the medium of television screens and the role of the VAR team is to notify the main match official only if a flagrant incident is witnessed. We've just seen however how CONMEBOL have contested the VAR decision to send off Cruzeiro's Dede in a recent Copa Libertadores tie against Boca Juniors with the Brazilian expected to now play in the second leg of the tie. There are appeal bodies who can now overrule referring or VAR decisions and although this new technology appears to have its flaws, with the UEFA decision to implement the system for next season's Champions League , it's clear that VAR is here to stay.
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