Nearly everyone liked the idea of VAR before it arrived, of video assistant referee and the use of technology to try to ensure the right calls were made in football, thinking of all the times clear and obvious errors might have been quickly overturned with such a system.
In practice, for every clear and obvious error quickly and painlessly reversed, there feels as though there are a dozen or three cases of everyone being forced to wait interminably as VAR is used to try to determine millimetre decisions that nobody was ever bothered by.
“I used to be one of the people who said VAR is a good idea, but I’m really not sure I would say that again to be honest,” was Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s take on a night when VAR again had everybody standing around for minutes on end as it chased perfection.
In the end against FC Midtjylland, it probably got all the calls right. In the strictest sense, the system worked. Yet for the players in the stadium and the fans watching at home, it was all more than a little confusing and tiresome—and on sum, it likely didn’t change the result.
“It just took too long,” Klopp added, explaining that his primary complaint is the way it takes the players out of the flow of the game. “I think in the end—I didn’t see it back but I think in the end the decisions were right. But it was so difficult and it took three or four minutes.”