Why FIFA have decided to trial VAR at a World Cup is an absolute joke as its teething problems are being played out on the biggest stage.
Perhaps predictably VAR has emerged as one of the biggest talking points of the World Cup with the tournament littered with debatable incidents where it has been called into action.
England captain Harry Kane was wrestled to the floor twice against Tunisia right in front of the referee in what was more akin to a rugby tackle and a wrestling move. The absence of any intervention from VAR was deafening.
Other major talking points where it was controversially deployed included Cristiano Ronaldo who won a penalty and was fortunate to escape a red card in Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Iran. There was also a two-footed Gerard Pique challenge that went unpunished before a late Iago Aspas equaliser stood after initially being disallowed in Spain’s 2-2 draw with Morocco.
Spain’s second goal against Morocco in that draw is a great example of how it should be used, though, as he was clearly onside despite initially being given offside leading to the goal being ruled out. However, the majority of decisions a referee makes during a game are subjective. What he views as a foul, many others sitting in a room might not agree.
The system is being abused by players who keep calling for it to be used - but the system is far from being used effectively. How wasn’t the foul on Kane in the Tunisia game not a clear and obvious error? The system also takes far too long to revert to the original foul which has caused irritation among fans who are not always sure what’s going on. Whereas cricket and rugby have natural pauses in the game football doesn’t. The decisions in cricket and rugby are mainly based on fact as well.
To conclude, what does an extra minute matter when you come to the right decision? It just needs to be used correctly with better communication to reduce anger among fans.
No one was thinking about VAR after the Panama game, though. I can’t remember a time when England put a team to the sword in the first half of a game like that. At half time every England fan in the stadium was asking each other what had just happened. After all, this just doesn’t happen to England.
In Nizhy England fans were well received by Russians while there was hardly any Argentinians about which we had been led to believe could be teaming up with Russian hooligans to target us. I’m sure many of them had gone after being battered by Croatia!
The city has only been open to tourists for 28 years so we were a tourist attraction! As we were singing songs we were surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of locals on their phones videoing it. A lady even thanked us for visiting their city.