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Gomes: The future is bright for VAR despite ´some failures´

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Feb 2024

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Duarte Gomes feels the future of VAR is “bright” despite the issues it has seen since its introduction.

The 2018 World Cup was the first competition to have VAR implemented, with the Premier League introducing it for the 2019-20 campaign.

It has been much-maligned in some quarters, though, particularly with fans who feel it has slowed games down and even got decisions wrong in some cases, such as Luis Diaz’s incorrectly disallowed goal during Liverpool’s loss at Tottenham earlier in the season.

Despite the teething problems, former FIFA referee Gomes still feels VAR’s implementation has been a success, though he concedes it still has issues.

“I believe the future is bright for VAR,” Gomes told Stats Perform. “I can see improvements in many situations, but I can also see some failures, which I believe is still normal at this level.

“The introduction of VAR, I believe it’s the most important change in referees in history, so sometimes it takes time.

“They have to be fast and accurate and it’s not easy. Sometimes they have to get the best image from the technician. So it’s a growing process. But so many good decisions have been made, especially when it comes to offsides, goals. What is allowed or correctly validated after VAR. Also, violence that the referee cannot see on the pitch and happens very clearly.”

Much of the frustration with VAR, at least in England, has centred on the perceived move away from only correcting clear and obvious errors, which was highlighted as the primary reason for its introduction.

Gomes agrees it should only be used for less subjective decisions, saying: “I believe that VAR should be exclusively used for very factual decisions. For example, like goalline technology on the goals or offside technology or with the line, that’s very yes and no, black or white.

“When you have grey areas like pushing and holding and maybe a hand, maybe not. You have to change this. I think it will be better.”

Gomes believes one area that could be improved would be to have officials whose sole role is VAR, rather than the current system of having referees and assistant referees in the VAR room.

“As for now, we have the career of an assistant referee,” Gomes added. “We should have a career only for the VAR.

“They get their information only by having the decisions evaluated on TV on the screen. They should be professional at that, they cannot be referees and VARs at the same time.”

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