It goes by various name in different regions of the world; football, futeball, futball, and soccer. Regardless of its technical name, we can all agree to call it “the beautiful game.” The beautiful game is finally catching up with modern times and I love it. Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) is being used in a few top tier leagues in Europe, and it’s helping clean up the game incrementally when it comes to lessening officiating controversies. It won’t fully fix the issue because there is still somewhat of a human element to the VAR system. As far as the leagues that are using the system, anyone can see the difference in how the game is officiated. Assistant referees are encouraged not to flag offsides if its close, so the system can be used to make the correct call without stopping play and making sure its correct. With the system, the play can be allowed to go on and reviewed if necessary. In this scenario, the correct call can be made without hurting any team. The VAR system is used for various situations on the pitch. I’ve seen yellow cards turned into red cards and vice versa. . I’ve seen dangerous incidents be reviewed and the appropriate action was taken. VAR is working. It’s not perfect but its working.
There are a few things in the sport that frustrate me and sometimes force me to question why I even watch. The game’s rules state, “attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation), must be sanctioned as unsporting behaviour which is misconduct punishable by a yellow card”. (link for source). That’s the rule Regarding diving, my issue with it is simple. When a player falls over and the referee doesn’t call it a foul, the ref has basically said the player dived and should be issued a yellow card. That’s not the case. Typically, the refs do not issue anything and just tell the player to get up. The only way to end diving in the game is to issue every single play that’s considered a dive the punishment of a yellow card and some sort of fine.
The last issue I have is substitutions in the game during stoppage time. Stoppage time is time added to the ending of each half of the game in consideration of stoppages during the game. I’d like a rule put in place that would end substitutions during these extra minutes that aren’t injury related. The practice of time wasting time will never be taken out of the game, but at least we can limit some of the actions that are used. I’d love to see some type of game clock stoppage used in soccer to prevent time wasting. It would make the game more efficient when it comes to time keeping. Currently, it’s a mess how stoppage time is determined. If there is a stoppage when necessary during major events, such as injuries, it doesn’t truly make up for time lost. If there is a way for the officials to actually stop the game clock and start it back up, it’ll prevent unnecessary time wasting techniques and keep the game flow rolling smoothly. At the end of the day, I just want to one day watch a match without any diving and annoying time wasting by the players on the pitch.