VAR playing a big role at Women's World Cup

A VAR notice is seen at a Women's World Cup game recently.

There are some who would argue the ability to take a second look at a controversial call in a soccer game is a good thing.

They would be wrong.

Somewhere along the way they lost all joy in their lives and decided that being correct was more important than emotional spectacle when it comes to watching sports.

That a run and pass timed so nearly perfectly the human eye couldn't pick it out in real time, should be called back anyway in favor of stopping the game for several minutes to review.

That getting the "right call" should take precedence over a thrilling storyline or controversy that would keep people talking for years (looking at you Maradona).

As many of you know, I'm the education reporter here at The Post-Star, but I am also an avid soccer fan having played my entire life and I hate VAR. 

The introduction of the video assistant referee was supposed to revolutionize the game and, in many ways, it has.

Are players diving less knowing their antics could be seen and dealt with by the referee? Not really.

Have multiple camera angles and camera speeds made every call black and white and no longer controversial? Absolutely not.

Are advertisers already trying to work out speculative deals to fit a commercial in while the play is being reviewed? Almost certainly.

Initially lauded as an end to controversy, VAR has become like a bad mother-in-law; overbearing, annoying and more trouble than she's worth.

For some reason, people thought controversy was something to avoid in entertainment as if they hadn’t loved every minute of filling my timeline with complaints about who was killed off on Game of Thrones for the last 10 years.

Maybe it was the sting of a recent result that didn't go their way that made them overlook the role fluidity plays in the game, but the promise of unjust results being a thing of the past lulled many into thinking it was worth the constant stoppages and disruptions to a game's rhythm.

Maybe it was a missed handball that ended a Cinderella story in a cup game that made them think reviewing a call that is still inherently subjective would make the decision process clearer.

Maybe they're just nerds who really like rules.

Whatever the reason is, the game, the spectacle that sparks righteous anger, indignation and joy, is suffering. At the world's highest level of soccer, storylines are being sacrificed in the name of some mythical "truth" that does not exist.

I don't care how good VAR's key lime pie recipe is, if it were up to me we'd leave her out of major occasions and deal with mediocre desserts like adults.

Unfortunately, though, it seems it’s here to stay and if I’m stuck in this relationship the least FIFA and others could do is make sure it’s not Verizon Assistant Referee next season.

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Samuel Northrop is the education reporter for The Post-Star. He can be reached at snorthrop@poststar.com.


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