A Look To The Future As Palace Feature In Competitive VAR Trial
The subject of video technology has been much discussed including here at TEB, but little did we know that a game featuring Palace would be the first to trial the Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in England.
The last time TEB touched on the topic was courtesy of Lucy White back in March 2016 following an historic FIFA decision to trial the use of video technology.
The FA had said last year that VAR would be trialled in the FA Cup and the first competitive game to be chosen is Palace’s third round trip to the Amex on Monday evening, as the Eagles take on rivals Brighton & Hove Albion which is also to be aired live on BT Sport.
The VAR technology will be used for three game-changing situations – goals, penalties and straight red cards. It can be used to highlight a potential case of mistaken identity by the referee. The system was used for the first time in the United Kingdom when England played out a goalless draw in a friendly against Germany in November but it was not called upon in that game.
There has been plenty of testing of the system around the world already since the International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved the two-year trial in 2016. Since it was first used in the Club World Cup in December 2016, it has been used in the Bundesliga, Serie A and Major League Soccer (MLS).
There was always going to be teething problems with the system which is why the trial is to last two years covering around 2,000 games in an effort to iron out and fine tune the finer points of its use.
For those pub quiz fans of you reading this article, Anouar Kali was the first player to be sent off in a Dutch cup tie between Willem and Ajax. The player was initially given a yellow card but the VAR indicated that it was in fact a red card offence.
The IFAB will make a decision in March as to the potential long term future of the VAR, including the possibility of it being used in the World Cup in Russia this summer.
As Palace chairman Steve Parish eluded to in The Debate programme on Sky Sports, while the stakes are ridiculously high on the modern game, there is a part of us all that think that we should understand that there will always be an element of human error rather than having to start relying on technology.
In saying that, even with technology at hand, there are plenty of decisions that still remain inconclusive after several replays so talking points will always remain. Of course, technology is being used successfully in a number of sports particularly cricket, rugby, tennis and the NFL.
There is no doubting that football officials need help with players looking to get every advantage possible. There is no point waiting for players to realise that they should refrain from doing so against fellow professionals but that train left the station a long time ago.
Goal-line technology has been introduced seamlessly and with minimal fuss. It is called upon on occasions and with little delay to the game. There is no reason to believe that the VAR will be any different and it looks very much like it will be something that we will all have to get used to.
It will be interesting to see how the game goes on Monday and if the VAR is called upon at any point in the ninety minutes. It should not take away the fact that this is a cup tie, between two teams that are fierce rivals.
Perhaps Sussex Police could find a similar system useful in and around the ground on Monday night …