Express & Star

Should VAR stay or go: Here is what our reporters have had to say

VAR has divided the opinions of almost everyone in football since it was introduced.

Referee Matt Donohue checks the VAR screen

Every week there is a new debate around the technology, whether it is working and whether it has improved the game.

Now the debate will continue into the summer break - after Wolves tabled a proposal to scrap VAR.

It comes after the club were on the wrong end of a number of VAR decisions across the course of the campaign.

The proposal will be discussed at the Premier League AGM on June 6, and ahead of that we asked our reporters what they think of VAR, and whether they believe it should be scrapped.

Liam Keen - Wolves correspondent

After five seasons of VAR in the Premier League, the question everyone should ask themselves is whether it has improved the game.

The governing bodies encouraged everyone to be patient with the technology and that they would need time to get it right.

But frankly, it has added nothing positive to the game and improvements seem a long way off.

Top flight clubs voted to introduce semi-automated offsides and if it works as advertised, it will be a benefit. Goal line technology has also improved football as a game.

But the way VAR is being used is detrimental to the spirit of the game and the sport we all love.

It was brought in to improve accuracy, but it has not worked. On top of that, it is ruining the atmospheres in stadiums, creating a bigger divide between supporters and the game they love, and robbing clubs of magical moments.

Too many subjective decisions are being scrutinised by VAR and the inconsistency in decisions means the narrative around games is always down to VAR, while the time taken to get to decisions is laughable.

Human error will occur whether VAR is there or not. As a result, there is only one answer in VAR's current form - scrap it, sacrifice a potentially small increase in accuracy and return to spontaneous sporting moments that make the beautiful game so special.

Matt Maher - Chief sports writer and Aston Villa correspondent

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a piece written in late 2020 following another weekend of VAR-related controversy.

The main complaints were the length of time taken in making decisions, the lack of information provided inside stadiums and most of all the inconsistency in officiating calls.

Nearly three-and–a-half years on, almost nothing has changed. If you were to jump in a time machine and travel to late 2027, I would wager you would find very similar pieces being published.

That’s because when it comes to ruling on subjective decisions, video technology and football are essentially incompatible.

Sure, the use of Hawkeye on the goal-line is near faultless (with one famous exception), while the introduction of automated offsides from next season will also be beneficial provided it works as promised.

But using video replay to essentially re-referee decisions based on opinion? That was never going to work. There is a reason the NFL abandoned attempts to use it for subjective calls.

So long as the replays are being watched and judged by humans, there will always be controversy. All VAR has done is shift the focus of frustration away from the on-field official to one sat miles away in a west London industrial estate. The myth technology can deliver perfection is precisely that, a myth.

At the same time, those supporters who pay hard-earned cash to attend matches have seen some of the joy and spontaneity sucked out of the experience. Football with VAR is just that little less fun.