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Why VAR Still Needs Work

596   //    09 Mar 2019, 09:39 IST

The Kimpembe handball incident change the tide of the Manchester United-PSG tie
The Kimpembe handball incident change the tide of the Manchester United-PSG tie

We live in such an incredibly unique period of the world. Technology is at the forefront of everything. Technology is there to make our lives better, and easier. But for football, this technology, Video Assistant Refereeing is driving people mad.

As Neymar glared down on the pitch from the stands with his new friend “ninja”, technology was again at the forefront of another controversial decision.

This time granting a penalty to the visiting Reds in the 90th minute. Kimpembe turns his back and jumps with his arms out, to get in the way of the coming shot. The ball hits him in his arm. Let Chaos erupt.

Was Kimpembe in a natural position? Was he deliberately trying to play the ball with his hand? Probably not, but nobody can know for certain. You can talk to 3 different people and have three different opinions on this matter.

Now here we are with the ever-polarizing Video Assistant Replay. Video Assistant Referring will never go away. Like it or not.

So, we should not be discussing the fact of the matter to if Kimpembe committed a penalty, but we should be discussing how we can use Video Assistant Referring to set a concrete call for handball.

Video Assistant Referring is currently being used in dozens of leagues and competitions. Notably the Champions League, where this argument came to a boiling point Wednesday in Paris. 

But Video Assistant Referring is not being used in all competitions, most notably the Premier League. 

The penalty call against Kimpembe is probably not called a penalty in the Premier League, but who knows? And that is the question. Who knows what an actual penalty is. With Video Assistant Referring the call is able to be slowed down to the millisecond. 


So maybe that does not get called a penalty to the naked eye. For that reason is why VAR must be either across every competition in the world. Or in none. It cannot be in some, and not others. With that creates too much gray area of what is and is not a penalty.

With VAR across all competitions, this penalty call would be simple, and not as controversial. 

Because if you implement VAR across all competitions, there then becomes a concrete criteria to what is a penalty and what is not a penalty.  Ultimately that would be beneficial to both fans and players.

Neymar was very outspoken against the penalty decision Wednesday. “They even put four people who don’t understand football watching the incident in slow motion. This is unreal! How can (Kimpembe) use his hand with his back (o the ball) ahh f**K off”

Neymar is not wrong. It is a tough call to make. But with making VAR mandatory across all competitions we can see what is and what is not a penalty definitively. 

And referees need to set that rule and have a definitive definition to the rule. Once that is done, then VAR can be used properly based on those criteria whether or not a penalty should be given.