OPINION: VAR – my heart says no but my mind says yes
'One cannot recall how many times I was frustrated and spat out unprintable words at a referee after a mistake cost my team.'
Referee Michael Oliver is looking at the VAR during the UEFA Champions League match between Benfica v Internazionale at the Estadio Da Luz on April 11. Photo: Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images
Watching the highlights of a German Bundesliga match between Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich from a few weeks ago left me questioning my stance on VAR.
I have never been keen on Video Assisted Refereeing (VAR) because I feel it takes away the anxiety which can be brought on by human error.
One cannot recall how many times I was frustrated and spat out unprintable words at a referee after a mistake cost my team.
I have done a few radio interviews where I expressed my view against VAR. But now I may just rethink my argument.
The incident that made a compelling case for VAR with me was that Bundesliga game.
Had it not been for VAR, Leverkusen striker Amine Adli was going to be sent off after getting booked twice.
That booking would probably be reversed after a review after the game although the result would stand.
But because of VAR, that was avoided and Adli was saved. It was on two occasions that the referee booked Adli for diving.
But on both occasions he overturned his decision after reviewing the incident. And not only that, he also awarded penalties for both incidents.
Adli saved by VAR from red card
Now if that doesn’t make you like VAR, then nothing ever will. But it is a knife that cuts on both sides.
Imagine being that referee? The booing from the fans from both sides because of his decisions which showed he was not really up to his task as a match official.
I have heard an interview where Safa’s head of referees Victor Gomes spoke about what’s needed for us to get VAR going here.
And I must say it looks like it is not feasible for now. It might take a while before we have it if we are to do it the right way.
If we find shortcuts, it might be earlier but that does not help because it might not be as accurate if it is not properly implemented.
I think for us, for now, we will have to live with the poor officiating which is really unfair on teams and especially coaches who lose their jobs because of such.