With VAR there are fewer home wins

It could just be a coincidence, but in this first season with VAR in Spain the number of home wins has fallen drastically: from 47% last season, in line with the stats we've seen since the 1980s, to 41%. Never in the history of LaLiga, now 90 years old, has the percentage of home wins been so low. It's difficult to find any other explanation than that the referees are less influenced by the home crowd now they have to live with the VAR. The reality is is that there have been more VAR interventions in favour of the visiting team than the other way round, although the ratio is no way scandalous. But, even ignoring the direct effect of VAR interventions, the review system means the referees are less influenced by the home crowd.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-LEGANESSpanish referee Santiago Jaime Latre (L) and Real Madrid's Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui check the VAR screen during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Club Deportivo Leganes SAD at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 1, 2018. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

The percentage of home wins has declined over time since LaLiga was set up. That's not something the experts attribute to refereeing, although the influence of the home crowd has always been taken into account. But the further back we look the higher the percentage of home wins has been (the record was in the 1933-34 season, at 78%). The journeys for the teams then were horrific, the coach seats made of gutta-percha, the toxic smell, leaving early on the Friday, sleeping somewhere en route. Half an hour wandering by the side of the road after lunch just to move your legs. That was the journey from Barcelona to Seville, or Vigo to Valencia, or from wherever to wherever...

The big screen displays a message as a goal is reviewed by VAR

When the journeys became easier - and they are now ridiculously comfortable - the proportion of home wins reduced significantly. A home win ratio of more than 50% was left behind for good in the 90s (in the 1984-85 season there was a rare exception, with a ratio of just 42%) and it has continued to fall. But what we see here is that in just one year with the VAR the ratio has fallen 6% compared to the previous season to a historic low of 41%. The new system has an influence of some kind. The referee maybe feels freer when taking decision, because he knows if they are overturned any blame will be transferred to a review of his advisors in the VOR.