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. VAR is a net positive to the game
VAR makes the game better and thus should continue to be used
VAR makes the game fairer
VAR prevents teams from being denied victories by poor refereeing decisions or outright cheating. Ultimately, the officals' role is to be as impartial and fair as possible and so officials having the greatest amount of information is always good for the game.
Cheating should not be tolerated in football and reckless behaviour that can lead to injury should be limited as much as possible. When players know that they are always being watched, they should be less inclined to cheat or play danegously.
VAR means that defenders will have to be more careful in their own penalty area. This should lead to more chances for attacking football to flourish, as attackers will be willing to try and take on defenders in the box rather than playing it safe.
Players swarming the referee after a bad decision can completely disrupt a match, and often complaints overshadow the events on the pitch entirely. If the referee could see everything clearly on video there should be less tedious controversy.
The rules of football were mostly created more than 100 years ago. They reflect a vastly different time long before television cameras and with less skilled referees. As a result, some of these rules don't function as intended when we can suddenly see the tiniest details of what happened.
Play can go on for several minutes in football without any sport of clear break and it's not uncommon for a chance at one end to be followed immediately by a counter-attack at another. Stopping play to look at replays would interrupt these crucial parts of football.
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.
VAR in its current form is a failure, but it could be adapted in a way that makes it work.
VAR could be fixed if it allowed for the 'benefit of the doubt'
Many of the most controversial VAR decisions have involved the VAR overruling the decision on the pitch based on tiny margins. The rules should specify a higher standard of clarity for VAR to overrule.