FOOTBALL’S leading law-maker claims VAR has made football better – because players are no longer misbehaving.
Former leading referee David Elleray is now the technical director of the International FA Board.
Former Prem ref David Elleray insists VAR has made football better as players are no longer misbehaving[/caption]
Elleray drafted the recent Law changes including stricter handball regulations.
And while Elleray recognises the frustration of fans over stoppages while the technology cranks into gear, he is convinced that fewer rank bad calls, less diving and a reduction in harrassing officials are directly related to the advent of technology.
Elleray said: “As a result of VAR there are now fewer games decided by clear and obvious errors by the match officials.
“And there are fewer players getting away with violence on the field behind the referee’s back or indeed getting away with potential injury-threatening tackles which the referee hasn’t been able to judge correctly.
“It’s also clear that VAR has had an impact on the flow of the game.
“Inevitably, if you are going to stop the game to look at a replay, that involves stopping the flow of the game.
“I think some of the other benefits are less well publicised.
“But there is evidence that there is a significant reduction in simulation in the penalty area.”
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He continued: “There’s also a general reduction in players mobbing and arguing with referees because they know very well that any contentious decision relating to a penalty or a goal is going to be checked or reviewed by the VAR. So behaviour is better.”
One unintended consequence of the latest tweak to the Laws has been a proliferation of penalty offences where VAR is used.
Already this season, at the one-third mark of the Prem, there have been 54 penalties awarded, as opposed to 92 in the whole of last season.
Elleray added: “Whether there are more penalties because of VAR – I think that’s an interesting debate.
“Somebody might need to do an analysis and say ‘how many of them were ‘stone-bonker’, if you like, penalties which were missed by the match officials – because we know the match officials can’t see everything.
“We haven’t analysed that data as such but it’s clear that football is fairer.