Tuesday night’s tie between France and Spain, despite the belief of many, was not the first time a video assistant referee (VAR) has been used. Though the high-profile occasion, coupled with increased use of the VARs, has attracted widespread circulation by the media across Europe, VAR is by no means new to football.
Having assisted officials throughout this season in both the MLS in the US and the KNVB in the Netherlands, it wasn’t altogether a surprise the system worked with efficiency and effectiveness in Tuesday night’s tie. Further leagues that have used Hawk-Eye’s VAR services for blind trials include the Premier League, the French Football Federation, the Portuguese Federation, the Australian Federation, Serie A and not least, FIFA. This isn’t new to us.
Perception within football is changing. Officials, fans, pundits and the like have overwhelmingly come out in favour of VAR in what was, for many, their first experience of the technology. Former players Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore tweeted remarking the speed of decisions, impressed with the ‘10 second’ turnaround.
Hawk-Eye’s mission to make sport fairer, safer and more engaging took a big step last night in challenging traditionalist arguments against the use of VAR in the world’s most popular sport.
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