We all can see the flaws in refereeing; poor judgement, favoritism towards certain teams (when it’s calls against your own) and the inability to make certain calls when needed. It’s the human element that is in football and always has been.
From the referee exchange programs to full time referees we still have errors being made that simply should not; they’ve had enough games and experience under them to know a foul, a handball or a penalty when they see it. Such as is the standard of refereeing here I guess.
Now we have the joys of VAR (video assistant referee) to ‘help improve and make the right decisions’ (paraphrasing). However #SokkahTwitter will have you see how A-League fans, media personnel and players actually feel about it. News flash, f**k the VAR.
I myself have been put off by watching any games over the last few weeks due to the inevitable use of VAR, whether it being a penalty call, a red card or an offside; you just know there will be a couple.
To say that they don’t get the right calls would be false because they do, however it’s the process of it being checked once the referee has indicated it will be used and we’ve seen it range from 30 seconds to 4+ minutes, all either during play or out of play. My main issue is that it calls incidents that it shouldn’t need to and gets a whole lot wrong (an offside for example when Diawara touched the ball in an offside position which lead to a goal and the referee and VAR said “yeah nah she’s right”).
Not only that, it’s always being looked at in the background in the refs ear, so they have to pay attention to the game being played in real time (if in play) and listen to the VAR assistant at the same time.
Then we have the joys of seeing a decision waved away two minutes ago being recalled, say a penalty for example. What happens if the pen is waved away and the team defending go into attack and score THEN the VAR advises that there is an incident and the ref calls penalty, what then? Does the team who just scored have their goal removed? Does it wait for the penalty to be taken? All these questions that no one has an answer for and if there is one, it hasn’t been given… yet.
The VAR has done something to effect; shown us that our (A-League’s) referees are useless when it comes to making their own decisions. Do they HAVE to go by what the VAR decides? Do they not have the authority to have the final say? Sure if they go against a call that is obvious (an inadvertent handball for e.g.) they risk their position as a referee, but we’ve always been told and been ingrained that the referee has the final say (at least pre-VAR). This is all now up to interpretation of the VAR.
I’d say that the referee’s, as bad as they are or may be, are now basically making decisions based on the VAR’s interpretation of the foul or incident and have no say of their own, even in calling for VAR on their request as it seems to just happen after almost every ‘big’ moment.
VAR is not helping the A-League’s cause as fans (majority) are sick of it used and the FFA are nowhere near fixing it (or themselves for that matter). The quicker it pisses off and leaves referee’s to make their own calls the better and more human it will return to be, or at worst case have it used in a better manner than what it is now.