When it was first explained, VAR sounded as though it would be the saviour of football. A way to finally get rid of bad decisions that happened when referees and linesmen didn’t see the action properly. However, has the VAR dream turned into a nightmare?
Not a weekend goes by when a goal or penalty has been controversially disallowed as the result of a dubious VAR ruling. It has got to the point where no fan feels confident in celebrating a goal until 5 minutes later, just in case it is ruled out for some reason or another. This, unfortunately, can be the difference between a win, lose, draw – and often is. For the bettor, this could be the difference between winning and losing a bet. The frustrations are endless and pundits now spend more time discussing VAR decisions than the actual football action.
The Biggest VAR Controversies
A Shirt Sleeve Off Side
The rivalry between Liverpool and Everton in a derby game is legendary – and in October 2020, after a tough match and after being down to 10 men, Liverpool’s Mane scored what should have been the winner. However, according to VAR, a shirt sleeve was offside and it was ruled out. This was a big decision for the reds – and anyone who bet on the win.
An Equalizer Denied
Last season wasn’t an easy one for the Hammers, and it was a fight for survival. The club was struggling away against Sheffield United and had gone one goal down. However, it looked as though they may have just been about to nick a hugely important point when Declan Rice put in a beautiful ball to Snodgrass, who finished it nicely. The fans went wild, with relief and joy filling the air. However, a shocking decision saw the ref rule out the goal for what they declared as a handball from Rice when the ball unintentionally brushed his arm.
Despite the disaster of this season, last season Sheffield was in the running for a European spot. However, a bad VAR decision put them on the back footing and cost them valuable points.
Tottenham was the first to score – but just two minutes later, Sheffield Utd scored what seemed to be a very good goal. However, I kid you not, after the ref looked at the footage, he declared that John Lundstram’s ‘big toe’ had been offside in the build-up to the goal and disallowed it. Although they scored an equaliser later, three points would have been much better.
An Unpopular Decision
Liverpool has been both the victims and victors from dodgy VAR decisions. They benefited from a bad decision when playing against Wolves with the Premier League title in their grasp. The reds went ahead just before half time and fans were celebrating success early. However, in the stoppage time before half time, Neto looked to score a pretty decent goal, quieting the Kop. The ref watched the replay over and over again, and it appeared, to all intents and purposes, that there was no good reason to disallow the goal. However, to the shock of all, the ref stated that Jonny was millimetres offside when he passed to Neto who scored.
The Effect on Betting Sites
VAR disrupts betting. Simple as that. When it was first introduced, it hit betting sites badly, but they have had to adapt. As a result of VAR, betting sites have lowered the odds on penalties and red cards being awarded.
Some betting sites have even introduced special VAR promotions. There are some that will refund your stake if a winning goal is disallowed by VAR and some will refund your stake if any of your Premier League or Champions League bets are disallowed by VAR.
It seems that it is going nowhere, so as a bettor, we recommend you take advantage of VAR impacted markets. Sign up with bookmakers who offer VAR and take the changes into account. It could help you beat the bookies!