A referee walks into a VAR
At the peak of the 2018 World Cup, it is common to hear from different fans how “crazy” this world cup has been, referencing about the surprising losses of Germany, the struggles of Argentina and the rise of underdog teams that have delivered great results and goals such as Mexico, Sweden and Croatia.
In addition to this novelty in results, there is an extra ingredient that is making this World Cup very special, and that is the use of technology to help the referees in critical decision-making. Among the different set of technologies implemented this year, the most fun to watch and discuss is the VAR (Video Assistant Referees).
The VAR has caused and cured a lot of controversies. Particularly in Colombia’s case, it ratified Carlos Sanchez’s red card at the 5th minute against Japan, and saved Davinson Sanchez’s world-class tackle against Mane, that prevented a penalty and raised to hero-level the play of Davinson.
As an engineering company it is typical to ask the question: How does the VAR works? To answer this question, we should not look further than FIFA’s official website, where they explain the following key rules:
- A video assistant referee team supports the match officials during all 64 matches.
- The video assistant referee team is located in a centralized video operation room in Moscow.
- The video assistant referee team has access to all relevant broadcast cameras and two dedicated offside cameras.
- The video assistant referee does not take any decisions; he supports the referee in the decision-making process and the final decision can only be taken by the referee.
- Football fans will be informed about the review process by broadcasters, commentators and infotainment.
As for us, regarding our position about the VAR, it is normal to understand that at some point it’s going to benefit and at another point its play against a team, but in the end the overall balance should be a well-made decision that transmits peace of mind to an already nail-biting tournament.
In the end, the VAR is another factor for teams to keep into account, but as a team aspiring for the cup, they need to have the resilience to overcome any obstacle and adapt to any rules the sports bring to the table, even after starting with a red-card at the very beginning of their campaign.