Most Controversial VAR Decisions

Many love its intricacy and technology, whilst many others despise it for lack of consistency and changing the game, one thing is for sure that betting on Football has become a lot more interesting since the inclusion on VAR, if you interested in trying your luck, using these football tips could be a great start. It is like marmite on the football pitch. Controversial every time it is invoked. I am, of course, talking about VAR (Video Assistant Referee). This new technology was brought to the sport of football after major success in the likes of cricket and rugby. It was intended to make the decisions easier and better for officials, ultimately improving the game. In theory this sounds good, but in reality, VAR has not been without its issues. VAR continues to be a hot-topic in the game and has taken a while to iron out its flaws. First majorly implemented in the FIFA World Cup in 2018 it is now involved in major leagues all over Europe and international competitions around the world. Recently, VAR has tried to solve many issues and failed to do so, only serving to complicate manners and leave a lot of the footballing world with doubt and arguments. But just what have been the top 5 most controversial VAR decisions?

1. Scotland Vs Argentina Women’s World Cup 2019

In a fierce Group D tie between Scotland and Argentina at the 2019 Women’s world cup, one of the most ridiculous VAR decisions in recent memory was made. It was certainly the VAR highlight of the competition in general and saw Scotland falter in the final minute of play to blow their chances of advancing further in the competition. It was all going swimmingly for the Scots with a 3-0 lead. However, late into the second half, Argentina had clawed it back to 2-0 and had a penalty awarded – rightfully – in the final minute. As Argentina took the penalty Alexander (in goals for Scotland) saved the first one, shortly celebrating before having these cut short when VAR got involved. VAR deemed her to be off her line by less than 6 inches, called for a retake which saw Argentina score and Scotland’s chances of advance in the competition go down the drain. The goalkeeper was only a tad off her line. She has been training for years in a certain way and all of a sudden has to change this. If VAR is here to avoid obvious errors, it shouldn’t be getting used to exploit rules. This is where the controversy springs from. 

2. Man City Vs Spurs 2019 UCL

As City and Spurs battled out their second leg tie in the Uefa Champions League quarter-final, the football put on show by both sides was spectacular. End to end, high quality and, frankly, nail biting entertainment came to a head. At 3-3, and with Spurs going through on aggregate, Pep Guardiola’s Man City team were vying for an elusive winning goal. This eventually came in the 90’ +4 minute when Raheem Sterling scored a beautiful goal to make it 4-3. The City fans and team were in ecstasy for about 30 seconds before the referee called upon the VAR technology for consultation. It deemed Aguero, who assisted Sterling, to be in an offs-de position and ruled it out. Allowing Spurs instead of Man City to go through to the Champions League Quarter final. It left many in tears, some on their knees (Pep, I’m looking at you) and others in complete joy. Whilst being the right decision this time, it was still without its controversy and begs the question over authenticity within the game. 

3. Mainz Vs Freiburg 2018/19 Bundesliga

One of the most freak VAR decisions ever occurred in a Bundesliga match between Mainz and Freiburg. After a tetchy first half, the players went off for their half-time oranges. Whilst getting their managers teamtalk the referee had reviewed and consulted the VAR technology – changing his decision made earlier on in the first half. He then took it upon himself to recall all the players from the dressing room at half time and awarded Mainz a penalty for a Freiburg handball. This allowed the hosts to score and completely change the game. This was during the initial VAR stage but is absolute absurd decision making from officials which has simply left many with little faith in the VAR technology due to serious disruptions to the organic nature of the game

4. Brazil Vs Argentina 2019 Copa

Whilst many armchair critics bash VAR, many players are actually in favour of the system. Not least of which appears to be Messi who had to have a real go at Ecuadorian referee Roddy Zambrano following his lack of use of VAR in the Copa De America semi final in 2019. With Brazil 2-0 up against Argentina, Messi’s side saw two, what looked like clear, penalties not given. Not only were they not given, the referee hadn’t even consulted the VAR panel for them. This led to outrage from not only the Argentinian players but also the press who deemed it silly. This VAR controversy came about with its complete lack of use. This in itself shows people can be in favour of it for negating rubbish referee decisions. But it is still important to understand that it remains at the referees discretion… 

5. Man United vs Liverpool 2019 Premier League

This game has gone down as one of the more well known controversial VAR premier league fixtures, but there have been a few over the couple of years it’s been in play. Not only was there a real atmosphere around this fixture from both history and current magnitude, the game added an extra spice with two huge VAR decisions. They both went against Liverpool who were in search of an 18th league title at the time. It saw Mane get a goal chopped off for halftime and Rashford net for Man U following a suspected foul on Origi at the other end of the park. Tough for the scousers to take but some top quality entertainment. 

Whilst VAR is good for some, for others it has ruined the game. Controversy and arguments surround it, but maybe that in itself is a good thing? Regardless, it seems like it is here to stay and football is bound to have many more controversial decisions with it in the future. Maybe we will have to make a new list next year!