With growing advancements in soccer technology, referees have been able to make more accurate and definitive calls. However, when does this advanced technology become too accurate? In the Premier League, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has turned into one of the greatest soccer controversies of all time. Many players argue that VAR calls have turned far too strict, disallowing hundreds of major plays for minor details. Leeds United player Patrick Bamford criticized VAR, angrily saying it was “ruining football” after he was refused a goal because his hand was in an offside position when it was passed to him. Thousands of people, such as Robbie Savage, a PT Sports expert, found themselves baffled with this extreme decision. “His body is onside, he’s pointing to where he wants the ball. The line has been drawn on his arm, where it’s not handball, on his sleeve, that’s what they’re saying is offside,” the expert astoundingly said. Likewise, Liverpool’s defender Andy Robertson also bashed VAR after he made a minor tackle on Danny Welbeck, a Brighton forward, that VAR ruled as a penalty. The defender called out the inconsistency and uncertainty of VAR saying, “I was watching the games yesterday and seen two very similar instances on Marcus Rashford and Adama Traore that went unpunished and looked very, very similar to what I did on Danny Welbeck.”
Additionally, VAR rules disallow assistant referees from raising their flags for “marginal” offside calls. The continuation of play creates unnecessary high-risk situations for players that could have been avoided. Fernando Muslera, a Uruguay National team goalkeeper, experienced the first hand consequences that resulted from these rules. After suffering a devastating fractured leg in a tackle with Milan Skoda, a forward on Rizespor’s Czech, Muslera spoke on his experience, explaining “The worst thing is that he was offside. Without this new law that the passage of play has to finish [it would not have occurred]. If the assistant had raised his flag, everything would have changed.” Although VAR introduces amazing new technology to the field, the inconsistency of the calls it produces creates mounting tension throughout the world of soccer. The increasing accuracy and introduction of new rules continues to leave millions of people in shock over many decisions. However, players and coaches alike still hold great hope that with some adjustments VAR can continue to change the incredible game of soccer for the better.