What is the Definition of VAR?

Acronyms Technology

VAR is a video arbitration system that is used in football to prevent the main referee from making an incorrect decision before an action that generates doubt or controversy, which can affect the final outcome of the game.

VAR corresponds to the acronym that derives from the English video assistant referee, whose translation is “video assistant referee.

The purpose of the VAR is to avoid or correct the human errors that the main referee may commit at the time of issuing a sanction on a play, especially in situations that are unclear or confusing.

In these cases, the principal arbitrator communicates through a headset with the VAR, which is composed of one or more assistant referees who are in a room with several television screens where they can repeatedly observe the controversial play .

A recording of the action in question is transmitted on these screens, which has been captured from different angles and can be analyzed in a better way.

This makes it possible to make a much more complete and detailed analysis by the assistant referees who are in the room, who are the ones who advise the main referee about the best decision to make. However, the final word is the main referee.

The VAR can only be used in four cases in which a football match is interrupted, such as: goals, penalties, direct expulsions and identity confusion.

The implementation of the VAR was approved in 2016 by the IFAB (International Football Association Board), with the aim of correcting the mistakes made by the main referees. Upon approval, FIFA (Fédération Internacional de Football Association) established a two-year trial period.

The first game in which the VAR was put into practice was in the semifinal of the Club World Cup, a match played between Kashima Antlers of Japan and Atlético Nacional de Colombia.

In this case, the main referee, the Hungarian Viktor Kassai requested the assistance of the VAR with which, finally, he gave a penalty to the Japanese team.

Its implementation was established from the realization of the Soccer World Cup, which was held in Russia in 2018.

With the application of the VAR you can correct or avoid arbitration errors that, in the past affected, in one way or another, the results of countless football matches.

When to use the VAR

Below are the four situations in which VAR can be used.

  • Goals:the function of the VAR or video assistant is to serve as support and help the main referee to determine if there was an infraction that made it impossible to concede a goal, either because the ball did not cross the line, there was an advanced position, among others.
  • Penalties:the VAR avoids making an incorrect decision by granting or denying a penalty to a team.
  • Direct expulsions or red cards:sometimes they can result in an unfair penalty, so the VAR is used, in this way you can avoid both non-corresponding expulsions and confirm the correct penalties.
  • Confusion of identity:in cases where the referee does not admonish or sanction the player who owes, the assistant referees of the VAR must inform the principal referee to warn the correct player.