Video Assistant Refereeing has become an albatross on the neck of the football community. This technology which was introduced to help fix errors invisible to the human eye, is rather posing challenges to players and frustrating the fans.
You will recall May 31, 2019, the final return match of the most prestigious African club competition that turned into a fiasco. Esperance of Tunis won the Champions League because players of Wydad Casablanca refused to finish the match. They were protesting against the non-use of VAR after being denied a valid goal.
A perfectly valid goal refused by the referee. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) doesn’t seem to work. Injured players cry foul and refuse to resume a game. Football managers hit the pitch to try to calm people down. And a team that is declared champion in confusion, after only 60 minutes of play and then 90 minutes of interruption. These are just some of the hurdles been face with the use of VAR.
I am happy to have something that can help the referee and I would have been happy to have the same thing when I was an referee.
But supporters of VAR are making a case for the use of the technology in the game. Pierluigi Collina is a former chair of FIFA’s refereeing and is amongst those supporting the use of VAR.
‘‘I am happy to have something that can help the referee and I would have been happy to have the same thing when I was an referee, when I made a mistake because it is part of our human being. We can’t make everything perfect, so if we have something that can save us, making a mistake at a World Cup for a referee means that the World Cup is over. No more! No more’‘, he said.
The second leg of the African Club Cup (CAF Champions League) final gave continental football a very bad image that day. But despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the technology, CAF has decided to use VAR during the quarter finals of the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Our Serge Koffi takes a look at the questions surrounding the use of VAR in football.