Should VAR be slow-motion or real time?

Slow motion or regular speed? As if VAR wasn't controversial enough, this debate is a whole other kettle of fish

Ethan Todd
24th November 2020
Twitter @beINSPORTS_EN
Video assisted referee, or VAR simply put, is the system utilised by officials across Europe’s top leagues in order to take further care and action when it comes to making decisions about occurrences on the pitch. 

VAR has been heavily criticised by football fans across the country and world, as some believe it is ruining the game, taking away from the instantaneous elation that the beautiful game provides supporters. 

However, VAR is seemingly here to stay therefore it is pertinent to strive for progression of the system rather than arguing against it. 

Debates on VAR are now a weekly occurrence, especially in the Premier League and lately it has been stipulated as to whether referees should review decisions in real time, or in slow motion; as the speed of which the officials review the replay may influence their decision thus having a colossal impact on the match. 

According to a study conducted by Dr Jochim Spitz at the University of Leuven, there is no significant difference in the accuracy of a referee's decision about if a foul had occurred or not. 

Slow motion videos had a decision rate of 63% accurate and normal time videos had that of 61%. 

As a result, this shows that the time at which referees view replays regarding fouls has little-no impact on their decision.

Although when discussing more serious fouls, the study found that ‘more red cards were given by referees watching in slow motion compared to those watching real time video playbacks’. 

According to Biomedcentral, Dr Spitz stated that ‘slow motion can increase the severity of a judgement of intention’. 

Therefore, given the discovery of the study that officials on the pitch were more likely to make more ‘severe’ decisions following slow motion replays, highlights that the Premier League must carefully consider the next steps regarding video assisted refereeing. 

Personally, I believe that slow motion replays are more effective in terms of making the correct decision as this can allow for more time and more specific viewing of the replays; which is thus clearly more likely to result in more severe decisions as more decisions regarding serious incidents on the pitch are able to made due to slow motion replays. 

Featured Image: Twitter @beINSPORTS_EN
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AUTHOR: Ethan Todd
Aspiring football journalist studying at Newcastle University.

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