VAR Use On The Rise But No End In Sight For Dubious Decisions

VAR continues to divide opinion but fans must brace themselves for more of the same as the probability rate for usage continues to increase

VAR Use On The Rise But No End In Sight For Dubious Decisions

The chances of a VAR review taking place in a Premier League game now sits at around 70% as the new technology continues to dominate talking points in the 2020/21 campaign.

With William Hill consistently offering odds of 4/9 for at least one VAR review in their individual match sub-markets, that suggests a VAR referral is now just as likely as a first-half goal in a game between two evenly-matched sides, which typically trades at a similar price.

In other words, we have come to expect at least one VAR review in any given Premier League game, but the new technology does not appear to be serving its purpose as human error is still prevalent in officiating – and arguably even more so now.

Indeed, managers are already growing tired of having to discuss questionable VAR decisions in their post-match interviews, with Jose Mourinho the latest manager to suggest referees should now front up to the press to explain their decisions.

Tottenham were both the beneficiaries and victims of debatable VAR decisions in their 2-1 win over Brighton on Sunday, with Harry Kane winning a disputed penalty – which he scored – before a Tariq Lamptey equaliser was allowed to stand despite a clear foul on Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in the build-up.

Inconsistencies in the decision-making process has left football fans as bemused as the managers, but former England international Emile Heskey insists we have to give referees more time to start making best use of technology, despite current frustrations.

“It has not panned out like we all hoped it would,” Heskey told

“People have been calling for it for years because of constant human errors but, now that we’ve got it, it’s not really how we all imagined it would be.

“It’s taking too long to make decisions at times which can spoil the momentum of games. We’re in a bit of a dilemma with it really – where do we go with it? I’m happy it wasn’t around when I was playing.

“I certainly don’t think too many fans are happy with it right now, we just need to know where we’re going with it because right now there seems to be no end in sight of questionable decisions.

“But there are always teething problems with any change in football – whether it’s changes to the offside rule or new rules like when the goalkeeper six second rule came in – we’re never fully happy with the changes at first.

“Do we stick with it? Since it has been wanted for years and now it’s finally implemented I think we have to stick with it and hope the kinks can be ironed out.”

Meanwhile, ESPN have been compiling a list of questionable VAR decisions this season, rating each incident for controversy and VAR’s performance in influencing the decision.

At the time of writing, Jordan Pickford’s unpunished tackle on Virgil van Dijk – which left the Dutchman with an ACL injury and a projected six-month lay-off to boot – has the highest rating with 10/10 for controversy and a low-scoring 3/10 for VAR’s effectiveness.

When betting on VAR reviews, stakes will be settled as a winner if the referee brings a halt to the game to consult his colleagues and a notification of any such decision is made within the stadium. Most bookmakers will rely on official Premier League data to determine the outcome.