The past weekend in Europe provided plenty of examples for and against the implementation of VAR.
When the VAR is utilised correctly, as it was in Espanyol v Valencia, it is hard to argue against its existence.
Esteban Granero’s free kick hit the woodwork and bounced down and out. The referee seemed unconvinced at the time but with the VAR, the goal was rightly given and Espanyol went on to win 2-0.
Unfortunately there were also examples of the VAR not being utilised correctly, taking too long, officiating outside its jurisdiction, and even a case where VAR would have been helpful but wasn’t available.
In the Bundesliga, the VAR turned a yellow card into a red – an action which isn’t one of the four clear cases of VAR intervention – with Schalke’s Matija Nastasić eventually sent off for a high boot. Later in that same half, Wolfsburg’s Wout Weghorst’s red card became a yellow thanks to the VAR.
Bayern Munich’s season opener also saw the VAR get a workout with the system awarding Bayern a penalty, with the rebound being turned in by Arjen Robben.
However, VAR also adjudicated that the penalty should be retaken after Robben entered the box before he should have.
To complete the trifecta, Bayern had a goal disallowed after the VAR decided Thomas Müller had handballed in the lead up.
In Serie A, Cagliari played host to Sassuolo in the most controversial match of the round, as the VAR came into play, awarding the visitors a dubious penalty after the ball struck the arm of Cagliari defender Filippo Romagna. The subsequent spot kick was converted in the 99th minute, as Kevin-Prince Boateng denied the hosts all three points.
Over in the Premier League, where there is no VAR, there were a few incidents which could have done with a once over.
While Wolverhampton’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City was quite the story, replays suggest that Willy Boly’s opener came off his hand. If VAR was used in England, the goal would have been reviewed and potentially overturned.
While in Everton v Bournemouth, Richarlison’s red card would also have been reviewed and, once again, with the benefit of replay angles and a bit of time, it may have been downgraded to a yellow.
The VAR debate doesn’t seem like ending any time soon. After a weekend full of incidents, have your thoughts on the system been changed?