RefSix

Supporters' VAR survey

SW20

Member
Level 7 Referee
From a match going supporter's point of view, its implementation and the effect its had on the game has been pretty dire.

I can see the possible benefits that it may give when decisions that clearly meet the bar for a "clear and obvious" error are overturned but as many of us feared, it's being used for toenail offsides and tight subjective calls that are far from clear and obvious.

If it is to stay then communication has to improve, probably in the form of the Ref explaining their decision to the stadium (see the NFL) because at the moment, you're often left in the lurch as a match going fan. Sometimes you have to check your phone and social media to find out why a certain decision has been overturned.

Transparency would improve the situation immensely and would help Refs too who usually get a lot of unfair stick because supporters don't understand why they've given a decision. If they knew, perhaps there would be less frustration. Obviously, we as Refs can often guess why a Ref has given a decision but not everybody has our insight like that. Some would still undoubtedly moan as we know but it would at least improve understanding around the match officials and the LOTG.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
I can picture comical scenes as a 'Referee' tries to explain the HB or Offside Law over a tannoy to drunken primates who are solely interested in getting the decision in their favour or where their next pint or fag is coming from
 

es1

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
I can picture comical scenes as a 'Referee' tries to explain the HB or Offside Law over a tannoy to drunken primates who are solely interested in getting the decision in their favour or where their next pint or fag is coming from

Similar happens already in other sports, mainly American
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Fan surveys are pointless really. From what I know a simple yes/no survey to "I want VAR to stay" would get a similar fan 'no' response to what FIFA thinks of VAR accuracy (99.7%). But VAR would stay. Football is not about the fans anymore, it's about money. They pretend they care about the fans because most of the money comes from them but VAR has not had a visible impact on the money flow.
 

SW20

Member
Level 7 Referee
I can picture comical scenes as a 'Referee' tries to explain the HB or Offside Law over a tannoy to drunken primates who are solely interested in getting the decision in their favour or where their next pint or fag is coming from
😆 I don't mean explain the full law. There does need to be some sort of communication though, even something like "no7 was found to be offside in the immediate build-up, therefore the goal has been disallowed" or "No12 was originally cautioned for committing a reckless tackle but on review, this has been upgraded to a red card for use of excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent". Simple and to the point.

Perhaps the VAR could do it over the PA from Stockley Park, on behalf of the on field Ref.
 

SW20

Member
Level 7 Referee
Fan surveys are pointless really. From what I know a simple yes/no survey to "I want VAR to stay" would get a similar fan 'no' response to what FIFA thinks of VAR accuracy (99.7%). But VAR would stay. Football is not about the fans anymore, it's about money. They pretend they care about the fans because most of the money comes from them but VAR has not had a visible impact on the money flow.
Certainly agree with that, as long as people keep tuning in, that's all that matters to the powers that be. It doesn't help that match going supporters, who are actually an integral part of the so called "product" in creating atmospheres and conditions in stadiums, are all often too tribal to work together effectively to make a real visible difference via collective action.
 
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GraemeS

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Level 5 Referee
We're not American!
Again, it's this arrogance that's constantly held football back. We referee in one of the last major sports in the world to introduce a review system - and instead of taking advantage of that fact and using the lessons learnt by other sports, we insist on coming up with our own brand new system because "football is special" and then have to go through the same inevitable teething problems that all other sports have already done for us and that we could easily have skipped.

If it happens in another sport and it works well there - we should be doing whatever we can to find a way to work that innovation into our sport, not finding stupid reasons not to use it.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
Well, IFAB already borrowed cautioning coaches and team officials from US high schools . . . .

I do find the British anti-American thing in soccer a bit tedious. I particularly love the Brits who mock Americans for saying soccer in stead of football without realizing the term soccer is British in origin . . . .

My view: who cares where an idea came from discuss the idea on the merits not with silliness about origins. On the merits here, I'm a bit ambivalent. The history of the game is we just move on with what happens next--which is why we don't even signal fouls, we just signal the FK to take place. (Mercifully IFAB did not borrow from US high schools the idea of having referees signal what ever foul is.) At the same time, as the world gets more info driven, and so many more are watching on TV than in stadia these days, it seems pretty easy to let the fourth tell the TV folks (who are providing the feeds he's relying on) what was reviewed and what the decision was. And if it's going to the TV, why not to the stadium too. Definitely not an elaborate explanation, but "the referee held up the game because the VAR advised the check was continuing on whether there was a missed penalty." Indeed, if proper language was used it could enhance fans' understanding of what VAR does and doesn't do.
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Well, IFAB already borrowed cautioning coaches and team officials from US high schools . . . .

I do find the British anti-American thing in soccer a bit tedious. I particularly love the Brits who mock Americans for saying soccer in stead of football without realizing the term soccer is British in origin . . . .

My view: who cares where an idea came from discuss the idea on the merits not with silliness about origins. On the merits here, I'm a bit ambivalent. The history of the game is we just move on with what happens next--which is why we don't even signal fouls, we just signal the FK to take place. (Mercifully IFAB did not borrow from US high schools the idea of having referees signal what ever foul is.) At the same time, as the world gets more info driven, and so many more are watching on TV than in stadia these days, it seems pretty easy to let the fourth tell the TV folks (who are providing the feeds he's relying on) what was reviewed and what the decision was. And if it's going to the TV, why not to the stadium too. Definitely not an elaborate explanation, but "the referee held up the game because the VAR advised the check was continuing on whether there was a missed penalty." Indeed, if proper language was used it could enhance fans' understanding of what VAR does and doesn't do.
Broadly speaking, I think it all comes back to the idea that FIFA doesn't trust it's officials to be able to explain themselves properly. When a rugby official chooses to go to the TMO, the images are broadcast in the stadium, and the audio between referee and TMO is broadcast on TV. And they can do that, because rubgy trusts it's officials to make sensible decisions that line up with what's seen on the screen, and to not make a complete mess of expressing that decision on the TV audio.

For whatever reason, rightly or wrongly, football doesn't trust it's officials. They don't trust them to make the right decisions so the images can't be seen in the stadium and we have to waste time jogging over to a hidden monitor so the mistakes can't possibly be noticed by anyone else in the ground. And they assume that if the discussion between referee and VAR is heard live, it will be full of contradictions and mistakes. Is that a fair set of assumptions? And if so, is that the fault of the officials or the fault of poorly written and inconsistent laws?
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
Broadly speaking, I think it all comes back to the idea that FIFA doesn't trust it's officials to be able to explain themselves properly. When a rugby official chooses to go to the TMO, the images are broadcast in the stadium, and the audio between referee and TMO is broadcast on TV. And they can do that, because rubgy trusts it's officials to make sensible decisions that line up with what's seen on the screen, and to not make a complete mess of expressing that decision on the TV audio.

For whatever reason, rightly or wrongly, football doesn't trust it's officials. They don't trust them to make the right decisions so the images can't be seen in the stadium and we have to waste time jogging over to a hidden monitor so the mistakes can't possibly be noticed by anyone else in the ground. And they assume that if the discussion between referee and VAR is heard live, it will be full of contradictions and mistakes. Is that a fair set of assumptions? And if so, is that the fault of the officials or the fault of poorly written and inconsistent laws?
Agreed. I think it's a product of:
decades of poorly written and communicated laws (better written now but still hard going)
decades of the rest of the football family not knowing the laws (lack of trust, supporter attitude)
massive inequality between officials and playing staff (decades of poor training, facilities, remuneration - better now at the top but the path from grassroots is rocky... rugby doesn't have this extreme inequality, American F does but compensates by having about 30 refs and very strict rules!)
Officials' lack of experience and training with VAR, general communications and media training - it's only been a few years. I wonder if any referees have had anything like the media training that players get from their first pro contract.
 

Justylove

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Level 4 Referee
I always go back to football getting what managers and the media wanted with VAR. They naively believed that it would fix issues of incorrect decisions and have a single consistent truth across all matches. The media slowing down every incident and spending the majority of their analysis time on those and the impact on the game and glossing over the striker missing from 6 yards has built a culture of blame the officials.

We all know that there are factual decisions that are binary - offside and ball out of play are two of those. VAR is leading to discussions more tweaks that will simply "move the lines" to a different point. It doesn't actually solve the issue which is that some of these decisions are so marginal that you need to have an "insufficient evidence" call to say we can't make a definitive decision on this, therefore the decision on the field stands (which typically is going to be onside).

The other thing is that there are also a number of subjective decisions in a game. How many CFA/FA events have we all attended that have clips to view and discuss. Some of them are simple, others divide the room in terms of outcome. Two referees can see the same incident and decide on a different sanction. Ensuring that the appointed referee on the FOP has the final say is critical for the integrity of the game.

I personally believe that VAR will be good for the game in the mid to long term, however it has to be fully embraced by the leagues using it and be wrapped in with greater communication of referees decisions - I'm all for having referees mic'ed up at the pro game level so fans can hear the discussions around specific incidents. That for me would add to the entertainment factor for those watching.
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
"...by the leagues" tho... which leagues can actually afford it? Which international competitions can afford it?

Reality is VAR will only be used in 0.01% (@RefJef ) of football matches.
Irony is it is those matches where the crowd/audience is greatest and therefore there is the most cumulative emotion (@RefJef again) around goals (which VAR is destroying goal-by-goal in my experience).

Football has never been the same for me since I saw in the flesh enormo lumbering Bton defender Dan Burn score an amazing scissor kick that was cancelled 3 mins later by VAR. Since then it's much easier to cancel my TV subscriptions rather than watch year round.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
We're not American!
I subsequently knew this comment would be misunderstood 😇
It wasn't anything to do with this;
I do find the British anti-American thing in soccer a bit tedious
My intent was to indicate how different things are WRT football, this side of the pond. Over the last two decades, I've mostly attended away games. Granted, away support is much more partisan, but the state of the Newcastle fans is jaw-dropping. Completely rat-arsed for midday KOs, language that is off the scale and all-round behaviour that is insane. I watch a lot of football in the pub; and it's not much different there. The TVs are solely their as a target for obscenity. The Ref is simply wrong, unless the decision is in favour. Any explanation does nothing more that further agitate the flak
I'm merely guessing the American audience is not as feral as ours. That's evident by the continual scorn poured on VAR every other EPL game regardless of of the outcome
 
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one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
"...by the leagues" tho... which leagues can actually afford it?
The answer is much less than your guess. 'it' is not what most leagues have put in place. 'it' for me is what FIFA had in the world cup with dedicatedly positioned cameras, high res and super fast cameras specifically used for VAR. And even that had room for improvement.

What most leagues use is the existing broadcast cameras to cut down on the cost which basically means they can't afford 'it'. Now FIFA wants to introduce a low cost version. 😢🤮😡😠😤
 
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