A Step too VAR? Why Technology is ruining the match day experience

Updated: 24/06/2024


Supporting your team can be a trying thing to do at times, but no one can deny the feeling of elation felt at a last minute winner or a goal that seals a crucial win to guarantee promotion or avoid relegation.

My personal favourite is the Aguero goal vs QPR in 2012. I will never forget the feeling as the ball hit the back of the net. It is still to this day, one of the best moments of my life. Now, however, I feel the rush of your team scoring a goal is at risk of becoming diminished.

Irrespective of the Jesus goal being disallowed, the implementation of VAR had already altered the match day experience for me dramatically. It was my first game back at the Etihad in over a year, and because of recent events, I had to consider beforehand if I would react differently when or if a goal is scored.

That was certainly the case. Due to where I was sitting I couldnt be sure that Sterling was onside for the first goal. This meant I couldnt react in my usual way. I felt it was better to wait.


After a minute of largely looking at the referee rather than enjoying a clinical header from Sterling after De Bruynes incisive cross, I was relieved when Spurs restarted the game making it 1-0 to City.

As for the Jesus disallowed goal, I was completely stunned after celebrating wildly. For the Spurs fans and players it was quite the opposite. Yet it was perhaps not the usual reaction to moments of joy experienced in football.

Take the reaction of Hugo Lloris, for example. He was laughing. Not at Citys misfortune, but at the ridiculous nature of the decision and how it was made.

Its important to recognise here that the law regarding handball has been a key factor in early season VAR controversy. VAR has done it’s job” many have exclaimed. Maybe it has. VAR after all, was brought into bring in a more just nature to refereeing decisions.

Many people felt that for too long we are left with inconsistency and a sense of injustice regarding decisions made from the referee and we needed the technology to enable a more balanced and fair game. I was one of them. However, the effect it now has on the match-going fan means that I am now strongly against it.


As with most things introduced into the game of late, its the match-going fans that suffer. With European football being exposed to a worldwide audience, the vast majority of football fans dont attend games. It seems that currently, most fans who regularly watch on TV dont seem to mind the introduction of VAR.

They are fully aware of what is going on and some would even say it is added an extra element of controversy that they enjoy. So there is perhaps an argument to say that the experience of match-going fans should not be the priority, given the amount of people who seem to enjoy VARs inclusion around the world.

Yet part of the experience of watching the game on TV is the crowd, the atmosphere, the way fans engage with the game. It is this crowd engagement combined with the quality of football, which entices fans to watch the Premier League. Causing loyal supporters of Premier League clubs to become disillusioned and fearful of celebrating goals immediately will surely hinder the overall experience of football, whether youre at the game or watching at home.

To many people it might be amusing that the Premier League champions have had a lot of bad luck with VAR in 2019. Theres nothing really wrong in revelling in another fans misfortune but they should all realise that it will happen to them one day.

They, as I did, will celebrate a goal in the dying moments of the game only to find that its been ruled out leaving them feeling exasperated, confused and pissed off.

This post first appeared here

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