Skewing away from that basic rule will open up all sorts of problems, grey areas and furious debates over interpretation that football does not need.
Amidst all the hysteria, particularly on social media, over the decision to award Jordy Buijs’ goal for Sydney FC against Perth Glory, fans need to distinguish two very different arguments.
1) Should we actually have the VAR at all in football?
2) Should Bobo have been adjudged to have interfered with Dino Djulbic in the A-League semi-final on Saturday night?
If, as you suspect it might, VAR becomes more common across the globe, it is crucial it doesn’t tinker with the fabric of the game and that the point of technology remains defined: it is there to bail a referee out from a blunder, not to re-adjust a tight call through the glasses of the VAR.
It is there to avoid a howler, not to make incessant corrections.
That brings us to Saturday night.
The fact there is that much debate about whether or not Bobo substantially interfered with Djulbic while Jordy Buijs steamed towards goal proves that that call was subjective, 50-50 and open to that much interpretation that you have to go with whatever the on-field official called.
Something cannot be ‘clearly wrong’ when every second person has a different interpretation over it.
So, let’s go to the Video Assistant Referee himself, Strebre Delovski, to clarify how we ended up with the assistant referee’s flag up, but a goal awarded.
“Basically, Buijs had the ball and took it on and scored a goal,” he told Fox Sports.
“The assistant referee flagged it could be a potential interference with an opponent.
“Referee Peter Green allowed the goal therefore as a result of that we reviewed the footage and had a look if there was any potential interference.
“There was no key error so the decision to allow the goal was stood.”
In that instance, even if the VAR, in their opinion, thought Djulbic could have been interfered with substantially by Bobo, they shouldn’t be allowed to overturn the decision, because it’s too murky and subjective.
What sport does technology work best?
Tennis, where technology is used in black and white terms. Is it in? Is it out? That is all.
Only Nick Kyrgios finds a reason to argue with it!
in Australia, the problems rugby league has with its Bunker is often a reference point when concerns are voiced over VAR, because there’s still such a human element involved – and if we’re going to use video technology for a different opinion, then that’ll open a very dangerous Pandora’s box.
Speaking on Shootout, Fox Sports football expert Ned Zelic said: “It’s coming down to interpretation.
“The fact that we’re asking these questions can open up a can of worms.
“Does it get to the case where there’s a free-kick on the edge of the box … do we change those as well? We’re getting into situations where you can get a bit tricky.”
Tinkering with the game by introducing technology really touched a nerve amongst the football community, particularly while Australia plays guinea pigs and irons out teething problems – during games with so much at stake.
On Fox Sports, Mark Bosnich and Mark Rudan passionately defended the technology revolution, saying ‘in the end we got the right result’.
True, for the off-side call against Filip Holosko for Sydney’s third. The assistant referee was spared the blushes of ruling out a goal incorrectly in a grand final qualifier. How can technology be a bad thing if a just result occurs there, and swiftly?
But for Buijs’ goal, this is why clear boundaries are set and need to be kept to.
Had Green disallowed the goal on the field – which was the way it was perceived live during the game on Saturday night without the clarification we now have – then that decision would have had to have stood.
And for those worried about the emotion being taken out of the game, that means there will still be scope to head back to the pubs and the coffee shops to continue to run the rule over the decision.