VAR decisions at the World Cup took less than one minute… with 81 per cent of fans now in favour of video refs

  • It took just 55.6 seconds for a VAR review to be completed at the World Cup
  • 455 incidents were checked throughout tournament with just 20 reviewed
  • 81 per cent of fans claim they are happy with disruption for a correct decision

Michael Searles For Mailonline

VAR divided opinion leading into the World Cup and continued to do so throughout the tournament, but despite its controversy the data released since has revealed that VAR decisions took less than a minute on average.

The data released by FIFA has shown that VAR reviews took 55.6 seconds on average to be completed, while on-field reviews took a little longer with an 86.5-second average.

Following the technology’s relative success, a study conducted by VIGA has revealed that 81 per cent of fans are happy with VAR amid concerns about it disrupting the flow of the game.

VAR reviews took an average of 55.6 seconds to be completed during the World Cup

VAR reviews took an average of 55.6 seconds to be completed during the World Cup

VAR reviews took an average of 55.6 seconds to be completed during the World Cup

HOW DOES VAR WORK?

The Video Assistant Referee is used to assist the referee with game-changing incidents.

These are goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identities.

The referee can ask for a decision to be reviewed or the VAR team can recommend an incident is reviewed.

Once a review is undertaken, the VAR look at the footage and advise the referee of what they have seen.

The referee can then choose to watch it from the side of the field themselves or accept the VAR decision. 

During the World Cup, there were 455 incidents checked by the Video Assistant Referee and of those, just 20 VAR reviews were called. 

That means on average there was just one intervention every 3.2 matches. There were 7.1 checks undertaken per match, but many of these were not deemed ‘a clear and obvious error’.

The accuracy of decisions made by the referee and his officials was 95.6 per cent without the use of VAR.

But when decisions were changed thanks to the Video Assistant Referee this led to a total of 99.35 per cent of ‘match changing decisions’ being called accurately.

A major concern leading into its use at the World Cup was the disruption it would bring to the game. 

Referee Nestor Pitana awards a penalty in the World Cup final after consulting VAR

Referee Nestor Pitana awards a penalty in the World Cup final after consulting VAR

Referee Nestor Pitana awards a penalty in the World Cup final after consulting VAR

81 per cent of fans claim they are happy to lose game time if VAR brings the correct decision

81 per cent of fans claim they are happy to lose game time if VAR brings the correct decision

81 per cent of fans claim they are happy to lose game time if VAR brings the correct decision

Having been used in the FA Cup and some League Cup ties in England, as well as in some parts of Europe last season, the concerns over lost time appeared justified.

But with the referees partaking in some rigorous training prior to the tournament its efficiency markedly improved. 

Nine penalties were awarded with the aide of VAR throughout the competition, including one in the final, while three penalty calls were overturned.

On-field reviews conducted by referees took slightly longer with an average of 86.5 seconds

On-field reviews conducted by referees took slightly longer with an average of 86.5 seconds

On-field reviews conducted by referees took slightly longer with an average of 86.5 seconds

Referee Damir Skomina (right) gives VAR signal during Sweden v Switzerland in round of 16

Referee Damir Skomina (right) gives VAR signal during Sweden v Switzerland in round of 16

Referee Damir Skomina (right) gives VAR signal during Sweden v Switzerland in round of 16

It was also involved in decisions on ruling players offside when a goal had been scored, whether to award a red card or not following fouls, and even in one case of a mistaken identity.

As a result of its improved efficiency, 81 per cent of fans now agreed that ‘if VAR helps the referee make the correct decision, I am happy for some game time to be lost’.

There was also 7.5/10 satisfaction ‘with the amount of time it takes the VAR team to come to a decision’.

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