With so much discussion around VAR this season, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the technology has been around forever. But in reality, this is the first season of a VAR involved Premier League and Champions League.
From Man United’s goal at the weekend to opening day offsides – VAR has definitely got fans talking. Many thought the inclusion of the technology would clear the water and make sure refereeing decisions would be much more accurate. Some even wondered whether it would kill the conversation around football by removing those debatable decisions. How wrong we were.
VAR has been the main point of conversation amongst football fans since the start of the season. And its absence has been felt in the Europa League this week, where the technology will be absent until the final.
Bad decision mars Rome’s night
The lack of VAR was evident again last night as Roma hosted Borussia Monchengladbach at the Stadio Olimpico.
Leading 1-0 into added time, Roma conceded a penalty in the 93rd-minute, which was nothing less than controversial and reminded fans of the problems that niggled at fans before VAR was introduced.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot after it was adjudged that on loan Manchester United defender Chris Smalling had blocked a Nico Elvedi header with his hand. Replays showed that the ball clearly struck the England international, not on the hand, or even the arm, but directly in his face.
Smalling pleaded his innocence to the referee at the time as well as at the full-time whistle – but in the world of football, a player pleading innocence is no indication of what actually happened in any incident.
Replays clearly showed the mistake made by the referee and the officials admitted their mistake after the game.
Is the incident in Rome a clear indication of VAR working for the better? Or did you enjoy the controversial return of elite football without it?