UEFA President Criticises VAR Use, Reveals What Football Needs

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin during the press conference REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin has hit out at the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and expressed his dissatisfaction with the technology.

Concise News reports that the use of system, where match officials use video replays to check decisions by the referee on the pitch and flag possible mistakes, has been surrounded by controversy over the last few months.

Critics say the system goes far beyond its original remit and that decisions are taking too long.

“The game is changing and we are afraid that it is changing too much,” Ceferin told reporters following a UEFA executive committee meeting, adding that the search for refereeing perfection was futile.

“Football needs uncertainty because the players make mistakes and the referees on the pitch have to take responsibility, not some people hidden in a van or a building 500 kilometres from the venue,” he said.

“I can live with the fact that referees are human beings who make mistakes but now when technology makes a mistake, that is a problem,” he said.

Ceferin said he was not against VAR in principle but said that “we have to make it clearer, we have to make it faster, we have to make it less invasive — but it will stay.”

One of the biggest sources of controversy has involved offside decisions where VAR officials use gridlines superimposed on the screen, leading to goals being disallowed because a player’s toe or armpit was offside.

“The line is very thin and it’s drawn by the VAR so it’s the subjective line of an objective fact which is a bit strange,” said Ceferin.

Other sources of confusion include the new handball rule and how far back in a move VAR officials should go when checking for infringements.

“Do we check five minutes, do we check 15 minutes?” he said. “The referee never said in the past that we had to go back to a foul seven minutes ago.”

“We still don’t know which handball is handball, who is drawing the lines, how thick the lines are…..there are many questions ahead.”


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Ridwan is a trained communicator who specialises in football and squash. He has been published by African Examiner. He provides professional coverage of general news, politics and sports, and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first Nigerian interview with South Africa's no. 1 male squash player, Jean-Pierre Brits. He is a proud Nigerian and campaigner for #NigeriaIsOurs.




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