The use of the video assistant referee system was defended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who said that the technology “is helping football, it’s certainly not damaging football.”
With the widespread implementation of VAR, the game has changed in recent seasons, which has led to a variety of divisive moments in stadiums around the globe.
Liverpool defender James Milner hit out at VAR on social media after another incident at the weekend saw his side concede a late penalty against Brighton.
He wrote on Twitter, “It’s ‘clear and obvious’ we need a serious discussion about VAR,” “[I’m] sure I’m not alone in feeling like they are falling out of love with the game in its current state.”
Aston Villa star Jack Grealish complained earlier this week that VAR was “ruining the game” after a late equaliser against West Ham was refused by his side.
However, Infantino claims that VAR benefits more than it damages the game, saying the scheme is still evolving.
“We must remember VAR was implemented for the first time two years ago, not 20 years ago,” said Infantino, following a conference of the FIFA Council on Friday.
“VAR is benefiting football, it’s certainly not destroying football.”
As VAR is a modern phenomenon, Infantino insisted, there would naturally be flaws in how it is applied, which are different from issues with the system itself.
“We must not make a confusion between VAR and maybe sometimes wrong decisions which are taken because of the wrong way in which VAR is used, maybe in some places because of the lack of experience of those who are using VAR,” Infantino added.
Let’s not forget, for a referee who hasn’t grown up with VAR, this is really a landmark move.
“We have to take the measure of what is happening out there to accept criticism and analyse them.”
“VAR is not an obligation, it’s there to assist. Those who do not want to use it are not obligated to use it.
“It helped referees in the World Cup, it helps referees in many competitions, and players and coaches agree.”