Study shows that majority of fans at World Cup support VAR
75% of respondents to a survey say that VAR has improved refereeing at the World Cup15 July 2018 | FT Editor
A survey of 1,000 football fans during the World Cup by market research firm VIGA has shown that the majority support the use of VAR technology and its application.
The results show that 75% believe that VAR has improved the quality of refereeing at the 2018 World Cup, with a little more than four-in-five (81%) saying they are happy to lose playing time if the VAR results in a correct decision being made.
Only 2% of fans would be unhappy with seeing it applied beyond the World Cup, for example, in the English Premier League where most have voted against its introduction for the season that starts next month.
Of the four situations where VAR is currently applied, fans did not support one - cases of mistaken identity, with only 36% support. Other uses ranged from 59% (awarding goals), to 70% for straight red cards and penalty decisions.
The further application of VAR for instances of potential offsides is also not supported by the majority of fans (45%) - somewhat surprisingly - while 59% would support its use for off the ball incidents.
Respondents were asked whether they felt teams had suffered unfairness because of the use of VAR, and if so who? 40% agreed there had been unfairness, and particularly where it should have been used but wasn't. The two instances most cited - perhaps reflecting the nationality of the respondents, although this isn't clear - are:
- ‘The foul on Kane in the penalty box v Tunisia’
- ‘The Colombian headbutt on Henderson which only resulted in a yellow card instead of a red’.
Respondents were also asked to give their insight into how they would improve the current system. Those responses included:
- ‘Like rugby where the other referees in the box have authority to make decisions.’
- ‘The VAR team analysing the footage being more influential in decision making.’
- ‘The referee has a way to watch it without leaving the pitch, eg. a handheld device’.
According to VIGA analysts, these sentiments demonstrate a commitment from fans that is invested in developing and moving forward with VAR rather than not using it.
2018 world cup, var, active support