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VAR a World Cup success story?

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VAR at the World Cup

Coming into the World Cup, who was going to win and whether or not football was coming home weren't the only talking points. For the first time ever VAR would be used at a major football tournament. VAR has had it's highs and lows, most of the lows coming in England and the highs coming from around the world. But FIFA is committed that VAR will become part of the game and implemented it in Russia.

This World Cup saw goals and lots of them, VAR had a big say in that. A new record was set for the amount of penalties award at a World Cup, 29 in total. Before VAR this may have been seen as the referees being very tight and harsh with some decisions but that is not the case. Often the referees had to refer to the screen to come to the correct decision to award penalties and in some cases over turn decisions and reverse a penalty.


VAR at the 2018 World Cup has given us correct decisions in a timely manner. It has almost eliminated grappling at corners and free kicks, or resulted in a penalty. The was a World Cup of set pieces with the majority of the goals scored coming from them. This was a big help for England with very few of their goals coming through open play, as well as helping new crowned World Champions France.

Is VAR changing the beautiful game?

With the sear amount of goals from set pieces and penalties scored at this year's World Cup, is this what to expected from football in the future? France won the spectacular World Cup in not so much a spectacular way. They dominated games and got the majority of their goals from set pieces.

Football will certainly change when VAR is implemented worldwide. Defenders will have to re-think how they go about defending set pieces with grappling finally being phased out of the game. However, this will see more and more goals being scored from set pieces. Is this the end of the tiki taka era? Will football go back to long ball football with big lumps up front looking to win free kicks for their side. In our opinion, no. Football has come along way since the days of long ball football and can't see it reverting back. Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, David Silva are some of the best players in the world and will not fall away from the game, if anything they will become even more important.

Red Card

With VAR only making decisions based on red cards, goal and penalty decisions this means "gamesmanship" or "diving" will still be part of the game everywhere else on the pitch. In a way this is a good thing as it stops football becoming robotic with referees becoming almost obsolete.

English Referees

No English referee participated at the 2018 World Cup. This was because none had the proper training that FIFA had implemented. Mark Clattenburg was meant to be the English representative going to the Russia but due to his move away from England that fell through. The VAR training for the World Cup started back in 2016 and the FA didn't have time to promoted another referee to attend the training.

England has a good history when refereeing at World Cups. Howard Webb officiated the 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands and before him Jack Taylor, William Lang and George Reader took charge of finals between 1950 - 1974.

Referee Mike Dean

It is a shame that none of the current Premier League referees were able to officiated at the World Cup. The Premier League has already decided not to bring in VAR for the 18/19 season but the training would have been a great experience for them. The way VAR is going it is only a matter of time that the Premier League brings VAR in and from what we saw at the World Cup the sooner the better. The English referees will be behind everyone else in this regard, with little match practice but VAR is the future and the now.

VAR making football better?

In England VAR had a bad reputation coming into the World Cup. VAR had been tried and tested all over the world from Australia to England and now the World Cup. In majority of the countries it has gone down well and the decision have come quick and correctly. However, in England we've had problems. England is one of the last countries to try to bring VAR into the game and the FA have had problems.

England have trailed VAR in both the League Cup and FA Cup. This hasn't given our referees much practice with this new system and the practice they do get is far and in between. The Premier League has already decided not to implement it for the 18/19 season but all over the world it will continue to be used and improve.

VAR FA cup

Has VAR improved the game? In our opinion, yes. FIFA have gone all in on VAR and it was seen as a gamble using it a the World Cup but it didn't create much controversy and for the most part we got the right decisions.