The introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was supposed to make things clear in FIFA World Cup 2018 and help referees make fair decisions by ruling out human error. Till now, 20 penalties have been awarded through VAR which is the most during group stages in any World Cup so far. On June 25, Spain were awarded a goal through VAR which has sparked controversy. Iago Aspas was offside before netting the ball for an equaliser as the flag went up but it was overturned by referee Ravshan Irmatov with the help of VAR.
Moroccan forward Nordin Amrabat let his feelings known by calling VAR ‘bul****t’ on camera as he felt that Iran were robbed of a win against Spain.
Here’s the video of the incident —
— Neal Collins (@nealcol) June 26, 2018
How Twitterati reacted to VAR —
If we have VAR and still would ignore to look into replays to verify in case of questionable unfair piece of play, why do we have VAR then????? #ESPMAR
— tm (@tm____t) June 26, 2018
— Ahmed Haanee Naeem (@HaaneeNaeem) June 26, 2018
I was in favour of VAR before this world cup, I have always been. But after yesterday, I’m skeptical about it. At the end of the it’s a referee who’s making the decision and his subjectivity can never be detached, The least that can be done is make the rule book more coherent.
— Nikhil (@Nikilled) June 26, 2018
VAR is ruining football
— SJ K (@sam89holmes) June 26, 2018
I would rather they add one more referee in the field than that VAR. Seemingly fair football is boring than one riddled with human error.
— Kalvooo (@calvinTheODG) June 26, 2018
VAR is slowly and steadily ruining the World Cup. Every player begs for it as an out, as well as it taking the flow entirely out of the game. Nevermind the 6+ minutes of added time at the end of every game now. Unfortunately, nothing we can do about it now
— Matthew Constant (@m_constant5) June 26, 2018
VAR will take the Ball from Football and leave a once great sport with a foot on it’s mouth…. Refs are becoming very indecisive because of VAR…the better way would be for the ref to be the one who feels an infringement must be checked..not be pressured by players or officials
— God’s Own (@uMfuuh) June 26, 2018
The World Cup is going to be won on a VAR decision. How boring
— Trapattoni. (@toe_knee7) June 26, 2018
— Xtra Minute (@XtraminuteTV) June 26, 2018
VAR was good until the start-struck refs had to use it against big nations. Then the human element took over and refs use it against small teams. Spain and Portugal unfairly benefitted from it last night
— Tumza Lehipi (@Number1Lehipi) June 26, 2018
— Soccer Memes (@SoccerMemes) June 26, 2018
The controversy was not just limited to Spain vs Morocco clash. In the match between Portugal and Iran, the penalty was awarded to the latter after Cristiano Ronaldo elbowed Pouraliganji on the face. According to the rules, elbow on the face is a red card offence but Ronaldo was given yellow.
Iranian coach was not happy with referee’s decision at all. He said,
“You stop the game for VAR, there is an elbow. Elbow. Elbow is a red card in the rules, the rules don’t say if it’s Messi or Ronaldo.”
As the tournament progresses, VAR might come under the scanner as according to popular opinion, it has not been used judiciously in this tournament.