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?
A game of football will be filled with risky challenges and potential handballs, never mind action off the ball. Looking at every moment simply isn't possible and looking only at "important" moments isn't fair.
Fans, players, and managers do not agree on how VAR should be used. VAR has been criticized for not intervening enough and for intervening when unneeded.
The subjectivity surrounding a referees' decisions further points to how VAR does not necessarily reduce bias since a human is still behind the decision. For example, VAR officials often overturn on-field penalty decisions that had actually been correct. Fans and players argue about the outcomes of decisions for weeks after the game. The subjectivity surrounding VAR, a technology that should add objectivity to the game, further shows that VAR is insufficient, unnecessary, and creates more problems than it solves for the already subjective, risky game of football.
Even if VAR cannot review everything, VAR allows the referee to review a play and make more informed decisions. Just because VAR cannot review everything does not mean it should be abandoned. A referee can still receive help from VAR, in the form of an objective video recording.
VAR makes the game fairer by giving referees more information to help make their decision. A video recording reduces the chances of referees making biased decisions or of players cheating. Just because VAR cannot review everything does not mean it can still review something and help make the game fairer.
[P1] Football is already full of uncertainty.
[P2] Recording every single moment at every single angle is impossible, even by a camera.
[P3] Decisions still rely on human subjectivity: the referee’s decision.
[P4] Using VAR when a referee must make a subjective decision anyway defeats the point of using it in the first place.
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P2 and P3] A camera captures events without bias, helping referees make more objective decisions.