VAR explained: Heads it’s a penalty, tails it’s not

Sport

After another weekend of VAR controversy in the Premier League, the system has been defended by the man in charge of it.

Neil Swarbrick told BBC Sport ‘VAR will never be 100% right because you never know which side of the coin will land face up – that’s the excitement of it.’ The VAR chief said the decision to introduce it was a result of the increased popularity of American football in the UK. ‘They’ve been using technology for years,’ he said, ‘but that’s got nothing to do with our decision. We just noticed that fans were quite happy with huge pauses in play where nobody really knows what’s going on, and we wanted to inject some of that dullness into our own national game.’

Mr Swarbrick said he would mark the system ‘seven out of ten’.

There then followed a 20-minute pause in programming while VAR checked the decision and concluded that with no evidence, and despite every fan in the country disagreeing, it felt that it should be rated ‘fourteen out of ten’.

Football authorities claim the accuracy of decision making around key incidents, such as goals, red cards and penalties, has increased from 82% last season to above 90% this term.

Asked whether he thought the system will improve over time, Mr Swarbrick said. ‘Who knows? It’s literally a toss-up. There’s research going on at the moment into whether a fifty pence coin might have different results from the traditional ten pence coin, but at this stage it’s too early to draw any conclusions. And at VAR central our motto is No Decision is Better Than a Bad Decision so we’re leaving it firmly in the hands of our team of tossers for the time being.’

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