VAR causes chaos: ‘Why does football want to reinforce the wheel?’ | Now

The new season of football has just begun, but VAR has already caused much chaos and heated discussion. In other sports, the video referee is a resounding success. How VAR can work in Hockey, Tennis and Volleyball experts.

Koen van Bunge gave a deep sigh. “Why does football want to reinforce the wheel? Why don’t they watch other sports?” He wonders.

Van Bunge is an international mediator in hockey, on the field and as a video referee. He was active in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and is present at the European Championships in Antwerp starting on Friday. “In any sport with video arbitration, the responsibility rests with the players. Hockey, cricket, rugby, tennis, volleyball, you name it. Except in football.”

“There is a man in the zeast who presses a button seeing a small violation. But if the players on the field don’t even consider it important then why would you interfere? Don’t do it!” . “If the players have no problem deciding, then let it go forward.”


Hockey Referee Koen Van Bunge (left). (Photo: pro shots)

The discussion about VAR immediately erupts.

Last weekend, in the second round of the second IREDIV season with VAR, discussion about aid again erupted.

Sparta-VVV-Venlo as FC Groningen-FC Twente and Fortuna Sitard-Heracles Almelo had errors by referees that were not corrected by the VAR or, according to some, the video arbitrator incorrectly interfered with the game .

Referee boss Dick van Egmond could not explain all of the questionable decisions and the coaches and players condemned the video referee’s role.


Heracles players were furious last weekend with referee Kevin Blum. (Photo: pro shots)

Video mediation in hockey and volleyball also had initial problems

Hockey and volleyball also had early problems in the early years. “We have just started in hockey and have improved the system over the years,” says Van Bunge.

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“The video referee was first used at the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur,” he recalls. “One saw the images on a 15-centimeter screen without slow movement. In a certain match the referee gave a goal, but both teams immediately realized it was not a legitimate goal. The man who played in the tropics. Hot on the small screen, he did not have a good picture of the situation and therefore could not correct the referee. “

In the years that followed, video arbitration was refined and perfected. Hockey’s arbiter states, “For each action, a referral may be requested first (a request to use the video referee, ed.) This is sometimes fifteen times, which means match two. The bar is normally. “

Which has now been tightened to a great extent. “Now a referral can only be requested for a penalty shot, penalty corner or goal. Each team has a challenge, which the team loses in the event of unjust opposition.”


Knosshead (L) as a challenge referee at an Olympic qualifying tournament in St. Petersburg. (Photo: personal collection)

‘See video referee as a friend’

In 2015, video referees started using volleyball. Like football, the system does not function optimally in this sport, notes Koos Nederhoed, a former international arbitrator who has been one of ten so-called challengers, stating that the International Federation of FIVBs has been around for several months. Uses in major tournaments.

“Last week I was active in an Olympic qualifying tournament in St. Petersburg with Russia, Iran, Mexico and Cuba. Some of those countries did not know exactly how to present a challenge and it created a chaotic situation. All of them. The players called for a challenge. But the assistant coach did not know which button to press. It took a few minutes to deal with the challenge. “

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In tennis, the introduction of the Hawk-Eye system in 2007 proved to be a resounding success. “Tennis is a lot more black and white than football. For example, a ball is in or out, there is no room for interpretation”, says Drus Krama, who has been a 37-year line judge, umpire and referee at ABNRO. Have been. Rotterdam includes the World Tennis Tournament.

But in football, there were initially fears that the arbitrator’s authority would be compromised. “Initially we had the idea big Brother is watching you“, Says Krama.” It’s no fun when Hawk-Eye shows in a crowded stadium that you’re wrong. But soon I came to see technology as a friend. Hawk-Eye often confirms that you saw it correctly, which is a big kick. And the game has become more fair. He is the most important. “

‘Speed ​​and experience of video moderators are important’

“The Hawk-Eye system is controlled by a certain group of people who actually know to show the ball in question on the screen within seconds.” “It’s a traveling circus. One week they are in Rotterdam, a week later they are building their equipment somewhere in the US. Their speed and experience are important. In football it will also help if you have video intermediaries There was a certain group of. “

Volleyball teams receive two picks per set. Only if technology proves that they are right will they keep their opposing options. As a result, players have to deal with their challenges with restraint. From a practical point of view, it is also fully applicable in football. For example, assistant coaches may be provided with a tablet on which they can request challenges, as in volleyball. The video referee can then immediately see the moment.


Volleyball teams can request a challenge on a tablet. (Photo: PR Shots)

‘VAR has to decide, not referee’

Also, in volleyball, all decisions are shown on a big screen to the players and the public. “That way you stop the chaos on the field”, says video referee Nederofed. “It is clear to everyone what the right decision is. The decision is always made by the VAR and not by the referee on the field, like football.”

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Another lesson from other sports: the system never ‘ends’. For example, in hockey, there is a plan to set a maximum reflection time of ninety seconds for a video arbiter. “If you still don’t have a clear picture of the situation, the referee has not made a clear mistake and his decision stands”, Van Bunge said.

“It makes no sense to watch replays for three or four minutes, then a violation only seems worse. It also applies to VAR in football.”

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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