By Jack Currie
V.A.R is a continuing hot topic for debate, not only here in Scotland but across the world as the impact the technology has on the game only increases week by week and decision by decision. The introduction of technology into football is nothing new, however there has been much debate regarding the on-going soap opera that is V.A.R in football.
Up and down the United Kingdom fans, players and pundits are on a daily basis discussing the global issues that surround technology’s place within football. Many supporters of the controversial system believe that increased scrutiny into the on-field referee’s decision making will benefit the game and improve the overall output and decisions made by the referee. However, it can be argued that V.A.R has brought many more issues than it was first ever thought imaginable.
Speaking on the issue St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin believes that the idea of the system is a good one but more has to be done to ensure its effectiveness does not dilute amongst the barrage of criticism it faces, he said: “I think when something new comes into any sport it takes time to adapt, it takes time for the officials to get used to it.”
However Goodwin went onto explain how he believes the system is actually beneficial for our game, he said: “I think it is a positive (V.A.R), there’s no doubt about it. I think there are some issues with it, some problems that need to be ironed out but overall I think it is a good thing for the game.
Never afraid of a crunching tackle, the former player and now manager in Paisley, Goodwin believes there are a few crucial areas in how V.A.R can help officials, he explained: “I think it takes mistakes out of the game (referee’s decisions), or that’s what you would hope it would do. I think in general it can only be a good thing, it could be the difference between a team getting a penalty that they should get or not get then that can only be a positive.”
Goodwin did however recognise the argument that V.A.R takes away from the atmosphere at games and can leave fans confused as to what the decision is going to be. This view is backed up by St Mirren star striker Johnathan Obika. The former Tottenham youth academy graduate and England Under 20 internationalist believes that from watching the system in place in the English Premier League would impact his on-field decision making, he said:
“I feel that for the football community it takes away that sort of passion after scoring a goal.You don’t know whether you have scored a goal or not and that is a big issue.”
And Obika went on to explain how he feels that referee’s should have the power to properly referee matches: “If it was me I wouldn’t have V.A.R in I would prefer to let the referee officiate the game properly”, the former Oxford United and Swindon Town striker said.
As a goal-scorer by trade Obika believes that the technology is only hindering strikers and provides opposing teams a platform to try to sway the referee’s decision making, he said:
“I feel that even though you think you might have scored the technology gives the opposition the opportunity to complain to the referee about every single decision.”
The debate will continue to rumble on for some time as to whether or not V.A.R is beneficial for football not only in Scotland where we have yet to see its introduction but on the world stage where all eyes are drawn. Opinions on the issue are split, with Jim Goodwin favouring the introduction compared to his striker and number nine firmly against the idea and the introduction. For football fans one thing is certain technology within football is not going anywhere.