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< Back to question Should VAR be used in football? Show more Show less

The video assistant referee (VAR) has proven highly controversial since its introduction in FIFA's Laws of the Game in 2018, after years of calls for video to be used. Has it helped make football fairer or is it destroying the spectacle of the beautiful game?

Yes. It is a net positive to the game Show more Show less

VAR makes the game better and thus should continue to be used
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Goal-line technology in football was a great success

Goal-line technology faced many of the same questions as VAR, but proved to be very successful. It's only a matter of time before VAR's place in football is similarly seamless.
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VAR stands for Video assistance referee and is a new way technology is used to help football referees on the field when they make decisions. They are mainly used for determining goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards or mistaken identity incidents. The video footage helps the referee to take a decision after viewing the video material. Anyhow, the use of VAR is controversially discussed as it could potentially underpin the role of the referee on the field.

The Argument

Goal line technology has been in use for football since 2012 when it was approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). According to FIFA, goal line technology is “a technical means of instantly determining whether the whole of the ball has crossed the goal line”. It works with a combination of cameras and magnetic fields. This technology has effectively reduced the controversies around so-called “goal-line incidents” like during the games between England and Germany in 1966 and 2010. Despite initial resistance and controversy, Goal line technology is an integral part of football today and has been accepted as a valid mean to make decisive decisions on the pitch. The same success is guaranteed for VAR after a time of adjustment after which its use will be as seamless as the one of goal-line technology. Anyhow, according to trainer José Morinho VAR has still a long way to go to improve as he said that “goal-line technology doesn't make mistakes like the VAR”. This means that VAR will need a few adjustments that codify its use more clearly as to decrease the amount of controversy it currently attracts.

Counter arguments

Goal line technology (GLT) and VAR are not comparable technologies and thus the success of GLT will not positively affect the one of VAR. GLT is a more clear cut technology that can be analysed more easily as it uses not only video footage but also magnetic fields which allow to establish scientific facts that are non-debatable. VAR on the other hand is used in more than one scenario and is subject to more controversy as it relies on human judgement more heavily.


The success of GLT and its acceptance will transcend to the use VAR.


Acceptance of technology in one field has a spill-over effect to other innovations in the same field.

Rejecting the premises

There is no spill-over effect to other innovations in the same field if another technology is accepted amongst the community.



    This page was last edited on Wednesday, 17 Jun 2020 at 14:45 UTC


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