European Cup: “VAR” is a new guest after 3 years of its global debut


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Marseille (AFP)

Three years after its global debut in the World Cup in Russia 2018, the video assistant referee (VAR) will make his debut in the European Football Championship on Friday, at a time when opinions are still divided over his effectiveness in reducing refereeing errors.

The European Union “Wifa” for a long time resisted the idea of ​​using “VAR” in its continental competitions, before eventually succumbing to media pressure and the president of the Swiss International Federation, Gianni Infantino, who was one of the most prominent advocates of using the technology.

In September 2018, Slovenian Confederation President Aleksandar Ceferin bowed to pressure after a Russian World Cup in which he used VAR to a large extent, even in the presence of some critical voices, such as France’s penalty in the final against Croatia (4 -2) The VAR’s decision seemed fair to the party that received the penalty kick and unfair to Luka Modric and his companions.

Even without going to the extent of the opposition of his French predecessor, Michel Platini, to the use of this technology, which he called the “Great Damn” the former “Roosters” star in November 2019, Ceferin was not entirely convinced by the use of VAR.

In December 2019, in an interview with the British newspaper “Mirror”, Ceferin referred to “a real chaos”, considering that the instructions for the technology were interpreted differently by country.

He explained, “Some referees in England do not even refer to him (VAR) for a review. In Italy, they appeal to him every half an hour,” believing despite all that “there is no possible going back”, that is, to abandon the use of VAR. in Europe.

– gray area –

The head of the Italian Confederation of referees, Roberto Rossetti, wanted to be more reassured before the tournament opens on Friday in Rome, saying, according to the UEFA website, “We believe in this project, which has worked very well so far.”

“We insist that the VAR should only intervene if the referee makes a clear mistake or misses a serious incident.”

But for former French international referee Bruno Derien, “the problem is that … almost everything is in the gray area, the area of ​​interpretation,” he told AFP, explaining, “The real danger is that we get to a lot of interventions (using technology) as needed. To be used in rare cases.

“There are some obvious mistakes that are corrected, they should not be denied. But for the rest, he (VAR) is more controversial than anything else. The process is not understood despite the clear specifications and three years of experience in use…”

– ‘He did not put an end to the differences, but multiplied them’ –

But the two French referees selected for the European Cup, Stephanie Frapper and Clément Turpin, confirmed last week that everything was crystal clear.

“We’ve been working on video for several years, we’ve gained experience,” Turpan said, while Frapper said that “there are no recommendations or instructions on the use of VAR technology. We resort to it for obvious errors.”

A survey of English football fans published last week showed that more than 90 per cent of them believed VAR had made football “less fun”.

Another French referee, Tony Chaperon, called for reflection on the nature of the VAR, which its supporters have promoted as a guarantee of laws, consistency and justice.

“It’s a philosophical debate about what sporting justice is and accepting the other and his faults. This ideal of justice is an illusion. People especially want their team to win,” he told AFP.

“I don’t see any positive side, nothing. Obviously, he did not put an end to the differences, but multiplied them. I think it is an honor for us to admit that we made a mistake. It would be helpful. We can accept that the other is not infallible. Let’s do that, we will live better.”


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