What a VARce.
The news that VAR would be used at this World Cup was greeted with the expected scepticism, but many were optimistic that it would clean up the messy arguments about refereeing decisions that proceed every football match.
On most of the occasions that VAR has been called upon in this World Cup, the right call has been made. Of course, many calls are not black and white, but varying shades of grey dependent on how you interpret the rules. And that’s the crux of the problem with VAR. Sometimes, it’s great. The rest of the time, it only complicates things.
Rio Ferdinand reflected what a lot of people will have been thinking on the topic after last night’s farcical situations in both the Iran vs Portugal match and the Spain vs Morocco match.
Iran were awarded a penalty for a handball by Cedric Soares which understandably angered the Portugal players. Meanwhile, Spain had a late equaliser disallowed for offside, being VAR decided it should be given as Iago Aspas was onside. La Roja also escaped a red card when Gerard Piqué went into a tackle two-footed.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live after the games, Rio Ferdinand said:
“Up until yesterday I think VAR has been a decent addition. I think it’s added entertainment value to the game and they’ve got the majority of the decisions right. But last night, I don’t know who was behind the screens and helping the referee but they didn’t do a good job.”