Since coming into official footballing law in 2018, it is fair to say that the video assistant referee (VAR) has been no stranger to controversy in the different leagues where it is enforced. According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, 1 in 5 UK fans want to ‘abandon’ VAR altogether, the highest rate among European football’s ‘Big-5.’
1 in 5 UK Football Fans Would Like To ‘Abandon’ VAR
VAR was supposed to minimize human errors that had a significant impact on a match’s outcome but instead seems to have caused more controversy since its implementation. In the UK, fans of the world-famous English Premier League are especially unhappy about the application of VAR after a recent survey of 2836 UK football fans showed that 20% or about one of five fans would want to ‘abandon’ VAR.
This is the highest rate out of the results of the same survey done in each country of a similar sample size, out of Europe’s ‘Big 5’ footballing countries. German fans are the only other European fans to register a double digit rate for wanting to abandon VAR altogether at 13%. Notably, The UK also had the lowest rate of answers in favour of keeping VAR, at just 43% compared to the other European nations that all registered a more than 50% rate for wanting to keep VAR.
Italian fans seem to be the most satisfied with VAR’s application in their domestic league. Only 5% of Italian football fans surveyed wanted to abandon VAR while 7 out of 10 indicated that they wanted to “keep” VAR.
Majority Of Europe’s Fans Do Not Think VAR Made The Game More Fair
Before VAR was introduced, fans and those directly involved with the game such as coaches and managers, clamoured for technology to be introduced to aid referees in crucial decisions. Fans hoped that VAR would make the game fairer by eliminating human error, but the surveys from each country show that a majority of fans across Europe’s ‘Big-5’ do not think VAR made football more fair.
Once again the football fans from the UK had the most disapproving stance towards VAR, with only 27% believing that VAR made football more fair – the lowest rate in Europe. This is considerably lower than the next-lowest rate among European fans which belongs to France at 37%.
Only 14% of UK fans think that the implementation of VAR has been handled well, again the lowest rate in Europe. Notably however, most fans in Europe do not think VAR’s implementation has been handled well, with only 22% who think VAR’s implementation was handled well as the highest rate which belongs to France.
Rex Pascual, sports editor at Safe Betting Sites, commented:
“The application of VAR is still in its infancy, and this is clear to see in the many well-documented controversies it generated in the last season just in the English Premier League alone. The FA already announced a few changes for how VAR will be implemented this coming season such as the use of thicker lines for offside calls, proving that VAR is here to stay despite how unpopular it currently is.”