So this week Premier League clubs voted against introducing VAR next season, and will allow the technology to be tried for another year before they reconsider it again next year. According to BBC, VAR (or video assistant referee) – is an experimental system that’s being used to help referees avoid making big, match-changing mistakes. The trial for the system has been going on across the world from March 2016 when it was approved by football authorities.
I love technology and I understand how technology improve processe. Take for example how smartphones has helped the growth of sport betting in Kenya. This is seen specifically from the growth in Kenya of relative newer sport betting firms like Betway . Such firms are already on top of the minds of many citizens through their promotion bonus code, as well as the ads on the mainstream media. But when comes to football refereeing, I am glad that there is still hesitation to introduce the system. And my reasons are simple, as a fan the best part about football are emotions that comes with it. Starting from the banters when your team or a rival team loses, the endless arguments among the fans about the decisions made during the game. When you add the the missed chances, the last minute goals, the denied penalties, the breath-taking free kicks, the given and the denied offsides, and you get why people love football.
Referees are in the center of all the above but they are humans and a such they make mistakes once in a while. And with mistakes comes the criticism and the call to introduce the technology. In the VAR case, it usage will be limited to four types of match-changing incidents:
- Straight red cards
- Mistaken identity
For me, on top VAR denying the fans the chance to debate the controversial decisions, the time it takes to confirm some decisions is too long and hence interfering with the flow of the game. Fans enjoy games which are free flowing and end to end. Many a time you would hear the commentators, commending referees for allowing the games to flow even in some situation that the law of the game would require them to stop the game. And I hope even when they finally introduce the VAR, it should be such that it allows the games to flow freely.
In Kenya, it hard to see the system being introduced soon, due to its high cost, which is also an issue even in developed jurisdiction especially when comes to lower leagues. But Kenyans are known for high rate of technology adoption, more than others within the region. Despite the cost issue, I feel it just a matter of time before we get a cheaper version.