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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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Jordan Anderson
Staff Writer

Is VAR ruining the beautiful game?

Art+by+Sam+Dunn
Art by Sam Dunn

VAR, also known as Video Assistant Referee, was officially implemented in the world of soccer by the International Football Association Board in 2018. It was first seen on a large scale at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

VAR is used by referees to better determine calls that may be difficult to make in the moment. In the 2018 Russia World Cup, VAR made its true debut, although there were only seven VAR interventions over the course of the tournament. By comparison, last year’s 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar, saw 27 interventions. Not only did this possibly lead to controversial decisions, but it also made the referees look less confident in their job. 

Tualatin High School junior Everett Caspell from the varsity boys’ soccer team shared his thoughts on VAR. 

“With VAR there have been a lot more red cards that should not have been given,” Caspell said. “For example, VAR sees a player trying to shield the ball and accidentally stepping on another player’s hand and then being given a red card for something they didn’t mean to do.”

Plenty of others agree with this statement, as sports are physical by nature and that’s something that athletes and coaches just accept. The intense overthinking of VAR can feel harmful to the competition of the sport. However, VAR allows for more concise decisions to be made, even if it’s to fans’ chagrin.

Caspell stated, “I think VAR is a very good concept in some aspects of the game, like the offsides rule or handballs. For example, in higher-up leagues like the Premier League when teams are bunched up in the penalty box, it can be difficult to make a confident call.”

VAR is extremely helpful for calls that might otherwise go unnoticed. The advanced technology is an impressive way to help referees be sure of the calls they make. Though, many times referees have had to rely on VAR to make a decision that can alter the outcome of the game, which is controversial. 

In all, VAR is a helpful advancement to keep the game honest and competitive. It could help take pressure off referees on calls they may be unsure of. In any sport, there will be controversial moments, and VAR will have those moments. However, it’s a necessary way to keep the game growing and will impact soccer for years to come.



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