Improving Advantage and the VAR

by   |   19/12/2022  15 Comments  [Jump to last]


Just about every sentient being has wanted the VAR decisions to be better than dodgy decisions by the referee. 

Just about every football supporter idealises the concept of “advantage”.

But the VAR has, for those paying a fortune to attend, seriously damaged the spectacle of a football match as time drifts by whilst the position of eyebrows in an alleged offside examination are excruciatingly analysed. 

Similarly, referees playing “advantage” by a mere wave of the arm never ever reconsider when the playing of “advantage” results in nothing advantageous at all, as is the case the majority of time.

So…. might the football authorities consider adopting the equivalent of what goes on in major cricket? In cricket, the responsibility for reviews is all but taken away from umpires. Each team is allowed two or three appeals per match. If you successfully appeal you retain your quota of them.

If you don’t win, you lose one of your two (in football’s case, if I had my way) appeals. Thus, conniving appeals would almost certainly be eliminated, and tediously suspect eyebrow, fingernail and hair-lock offside appeals would largely disappear.

And then there’s football’s generally spurious “advantage” rule. 

Why on earth, after waving their arms, do referees, when the advantage has resulted in no potential scoring benefit at all to the afflicted team, not revert to a free-kick in favour of the afflicted team?

In both codes of rugby, that’s bog-standard and attacking teams therefore have the chance, twice-over, to accrue benefit from their own enterprise in the face of foul play.

Football seems to me to be way behind the pace of those sports in providing entertainment to the masses who pay to support it, whilst failing to discourage foul play nobody wants to see in the first place.

Or am I simply naïve?

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Reader Comments (15)

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Paul Kossoff
1 Posted 20/12/2022 at 00:50:57
100% agree Don. But isn't the advantage only fair or unfair to the team it benefits? Apparently they had seven people, so-called experts in the var box tying to decide if a decision was correct or not. Even with the seven a blatant penalty was not given for Croatia against Morocco in the play off game. So I see that var is in place to legitimize cheating for the benefits of which ever team the powers that be want to succeed. What is a good alternative? Maybe an a I controlled system that no one. can question. But with a I becoming more
self deciding it's just a matter of time before the robots start supporting the winning team. In other words, cheating.
Alan J Thompson
2 Posted 20/12/2022 at 15:38:29
During the World Cup, it seemed that the VAR was used only for penalties and offsides. It may have been used when goals were scored but, if nothing wrong was found to be missed, then we were never told if it was used or not.

Similarly, it appeared a foul was committed on an England player at one end of the pitch before the French went on to score their first, so does the VAR look at fouls the Referee may have missed in general play that don't directly lead to a goal or penalty... and should it?

My view is that it either looks at everything or nothing; do away with it and change back from some rule changes such as offside, revert back to two players between you and the goal and not in line with them.

I do have to say that some of the recent rule changes have done little to improve the game, such as playing backwards from the kick-off and players being able to play the ball in the penalty area from goal kicks, fiddling for the sake of it.

John Keating
3 Posted 20/12/2022 at 16:01:14
Why don't they just use VAR as it was originally introduced for, clear and obvious errors.

Let's get away with all these "fouls" occurring 5 minutes before a goal
Let's get away from lines drawn for toenails being offside.

The game is being ruined, actually has been ruined with these never ending delays after a goal is scored, microscopic offsides etc etc.
A magical spontaneous sport is slowly being taken away from us

The goal line technology is great as it is instantaneous.
During play if an infraction takes place such as a bad tackle, it can be reviewed at the next stoppage and then be revisited if needed.
VAR is till being interpreted by individuals without consistency, the more we can cut out the VAR operator the better for us and football

Danny O’Neill
4 Posted 20/12/2022 at 16:14:31
I'd use Rugby as an example.

Football has cocked this up on two counts. The offside rule is ridiculous and needs revisiting and the officials, both on the pitch and behind the controlled access environment of Stockley Park, are not up to standard.

That's why they hide behind VAR and hid behind pre-VAR. They never come out and explain. VAR isn't used as it should be and why don't we hear the decision making discussion and logic live as we do in Rugby? Because in Rugby, they're not on ego trips or afraid to explain the decision making reasoning.

VAR could have been the answer to many a wrong decision of the past. But the problem still remains. Incompetent officials who are too ups their own arses to admit they were wrong.

Maybe it will get better. We'll see.

James Hughes
5 Posted 20/12/2022 at 16:51:50
it's fine to sit sit on the sidelines and criticise about decisions and do agree that football has made a dog's arse of implementing it.

Danny totally agree that the off-side rule needs looking at again. A few years ago you could be level with the defender a foot or arm offside wouldn't matter it was the torso of a player. WT feck is going on ?

Lastly we need to be careful as the with Rugby comparrison the odious Springbok Coach is waging war with officials. I really hope we do not go down that route

Don Alexander
6 Posted 20/12/2022 at 19:38:00
Rugby League refs announce "PENALTY" loud enough for players to hear, allowing the attacking team licence to really go for a try in the certain knowledge that if they fail they still get the penalty (in that game usually meaning three points only, rather than the six that a converted try brings).

There's no perfect comparison for football but the essence of the game is to score, surely. So a bawled out "ADVANTAGE" would instantly mean the attacking team can take more risk to score, sure that if they fail there's a free-kick available for the offence for which the ref rightly played advantage.

Call it two bites of the cherry if you like but I like to see as many attempts to score as possible, with foul-play being a perpetual, even more heavily punished, bete-noir to the beautiful game.

Paul Burns
7 Posted 21/12/2022 at 19:13:13
I was unlucky enough to be stuck in a car listening to Talk Shite radio, something I never do.

They were rambling on and on about the recent Man City -Liverpool match where the ref, as usual, sided with you know who.

Apparently, a disallowed City goal was reviewed by the VAR against the refs wishes because he had told both teams he was "going to let things go" to keep the game flowing but had forgotten to tell the VAR. In other words, the ref was going to ignore the rules of football in this match for the benefit of television.

In conclusion, we can deduce from this that, when it suits and for certain teams, the rules, the very basis of the sport, go out of the window to facilitate the viewing experience on TV.

And no one else apart from me seems to think this is strange.

John Raftery
8 Posted 22/12/2022 at 11:55:17
In an ideal world, I would scrap the VAR. That is obviously not about to happen because there are too many interests vested in keeping it. Making the best of a bad job, I think the use of an appeals system akin to cricket is attractive. I also very much like the idea of a free hit for the attacking team where advantage is played.

Decisions about matters of judgement are best made by the officials on the pitch. Interference by the VAR in matters of judgement has undermined the referees by adding a layer of confusion to their decision-making.

Technology may have a part to play in the future. Where it can be deployed quickly, preferably instantly, on matters of fact such as whether a ball has crossed the line or whether a foul is inside the area or outside the area can provide on-pitch officials with the information they need to make accurate, fact-based decisions.

John Keating
9 Posted 22/12/2022 at 14:12:37
I see the Premier League have admitted that the VAR missed 6 incidents in which they should have intervened

They also overturned 6 onfield decisions which turned out to be correct referee decisions at the time.

They have/will not specify which games, which would have been really interesting to know as it may have shown if the “bigger” teams do indeed benefit from decisions

Surely this information just adds to the call to scrap this nonsense that is the VAR system?

Unfortunately it won't happen; years after its implementation, we'll still be debating this shit.

Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 23/12/2022 at 08:04:45
On reading your thread, Don, my first thought – and not without justification for a cynic like myself – is that, even if they narrowed it down to two or three appeals a game, the bastards would still find a way to fuck us?

Danny uses a phrase in post 4 called ‘hide behind' – until we get to hear the referees talking and explaining their decisions right away, then things are not going to change.

Human nature is funny, and although we will never get rid of controversy, I do believe we could slowly begin to eradicate the feeling that ‘we have been cheated'.

The inconsistencies do seem to change depending on whoever is playing, and I don't see how this could continue if the referee had to constantly explain his decisions every single week.

Ken Kneale
11 Posted 23/12/2022 at 09:08:56
Don – very good points. A friend of mine expressed similar thoughts as yours when we were discussing some of the recent World Cup decisions.

Given it might lead to more entertaining games, less frivolous timewasting, and little or no advantage to the media darling, sadly I doubt it will gain traction.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 23/12/2022 at 09:27:58
I mentioned this before (not on this thread), but attending the England v New Zealand Rugby at Twickenham several weeks ago, you could subscribe (at cost) to an App on your phone.

Notwithstanding the usual openness and officials discussing decisions on the big screen, if you subscribed, you had live access to the commentary between the officials and could listen to them throughout the match if you wanted to.

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 23/12/2022 at 10:13:37
John (9),

Those six incidents were highlighted in a daily paper the other day, none of them included any Everton game, although the obvious one versus Man City had already been apologised for by the FA.

None of the advantages gained by Liverpool were in those six incidents, surprise, surprise!!

Brian Harrison
14 Posted 23/12/2022 at 10:37:46
Just read an article on the BBC website by Howard Webb who is shortly to take over as the head of the referees. I always thought Webb was a decent ref and far better than Mike Riley who is currently in charge of refs.

Webb is looking to recruit ex players which can only be good as they understand the game as well as the rules. Webb also said that he would like to see the VAR used for clear and obvious mistakes as it was originally intended.

He is also looking at, as he calls it, 'drawing back the curtain' on the conversations that happen between the referee and the VAR.

Webb was also a mentor for the World Cup Polish ref who was also an ex player, who made decisions without constantly referring to the VAR.

I hope Webb does introduce these changes, especially were the fee-paying fan can hear and see what the VAR is checking, which happens in every other sport it's used in except football.

Michael Kenrick
15 Posted 23/12/2022 at 11:05:28
Sorry, Brian, I moved your post to this thread.

The article / video, for those who haven't seen it, is:

Howard Webb: New referees' boss believes the VAR should be quicker & simpler

Former Premier League referee Howard Webb explains how he feels the video assistant referee (VAR) system should be used as he starts work as chief refereeing officer at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for match officials in English professional football.

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