Assist the Ref: How VAR Has Innovated Officiating in Soccer

How VAR Has Innovated Officiating in Soccer image

📖 Published on: March 27th, 2024

✍️ Updated: March 27th, 2024

⏳ 7 mins read


Over the years, we have seen how the officiating has changed in the EPL and other known soccer leagues all over the world. However, the rise to prominence of the VAR (video assistant referee) has changed match officiating to a whole new level, and it has been a major difference as the leagues adopted the new assistant in helping them come up with key decisions down the stretch.


The use of AI in sports has leaped to a whole new level, and no one can deny that VAR has played a pivotal role in helping the rest of the sports world take its dedication to innovating the games to make it enjoyable for fans and make the sport seamless. The VAR is a big example of how successful it has been over the years considering how it is now a huge part of every soccer game.


How VAR Became an Integral Part of Soccer Games


VAR and how it developed over the years image

VAR was developed by the Royal Netherlands Football Association in the 2010s as a way to extend officiating effectiveness in the Eredivisie, and saw trial runs in the 2012-13 season. Since then, the IFAB (International Football Association Board) has amended its laws to allow extensive use of the VAR to a bigger level. In 2016, the board finally decided to immerse football games with full implementation of the VAR in most of Europe’s top-flight games since then. The VAR was made to assist referees and lessen the mistakes that fans can see on broadcast and on the pitch. The first trial of the VAR at full level was in a July 2016 friendly match between PSV and FC Eindhoven.


It would then bring the VAR to an international level in just a few months, with the A-League in Australia becoming the first to use the VAR system in a top-flight competition in April 2017. Later on the Bundesliga and Serie A joined in the VAR hype in the 2017-18 season, and the La Liga followed suit in the 2018-19 run.


VAR was used in the EPL in the 2019-20 season image


The EPL would then be the last European top-flight league to employ the use of VAR, bringing the AI in the 2019-20 season after the club voting ended in favor of doing so. Since then, the VAR has become a common use in soccer games as it was extensively used in different games from time to time to come up with more accurate calls for referees and greatly decrease the margin of error when it comes to officiating massive fixtures over the years.


A Big Day for VAR in Soccer - 2018 FIFA World Cup


Amidst the different leagues implementing the use of VAR, the FIFA was later adamant to also use the AI in increasing efficiency in officiating in international games. On March 16, 2018, the FIFA finally approved to fully integrate VAR on the big stage for the 2018 FIFA World Cup – covering all matches in all venues, and it proved to be the big stage for VAR to finally deliver its promising potential in helping soccer emerge with a technological marvel in AI officiating. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup alone, there were a total of 335 incidents checked by the VAR in just the group stages – with almost seven plays being reviewed in a single match.

VAR was first officially used in the FIFA World Cup image


At that time, the VAR was commended for having a 99.3% success rate in coming up with match calls, especially controversial ones. It has proved its worth as one of the most impressive VAR moments as the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup was hailed as the most cleanest tournament since 1986.


VAR and the Innovation of Sports Officiating


VAR has been used in multiple categories where a decision is needed to be reviewed by the referees and identify pressing issues in the game. For starters, the VAR is initially designed to review a goal or no goal situation, either checking if the attacking team commits an offense, gets the ball out of bounds, offsides, handballs, and many more. It later expanded into having a penalty or no-penalty call in many games, especially with soccer having a lot of extensive foul contacts between players from time to time.


VAR became integral in helping officials make the right call image


There are also certain calls that required the assistance of VAR, such as determining the factors regarding a foul that would result in a direct red card or correcting a mistaken identity in cards awarded in the game. These impressive feats in the sport have allowed the VAR to take on a huge role in top-flight games all the way to the international level, which has certainly raised the bar for soccer as it continued innovating thanks to VAR’s impact.


Gamble AI: Smart Assistant in Sports Betting


Gamble AI in action image

While the sports world has seen some bigger use of AI, here at GambleSpot, we take pride in giving you the best betting options that you can enjoy to maximize your wagers and chances of winning. This is why we have developed our state-of-the-art AI for sports betting that will help you score the best wins that you have been looking for! For instance, you can even ask our Gamble AI to give you the best soccer leagues to bet on, and our AI sports betting bot will give you the quick answer that you’ve been looking for. While it is still new and still at an experimental phase, you can be sure that our Gamble AI will provide you with the up-to-date information that you need to score big wins in your wagers in soccer.


With the best AI for sports betting at your disposal, you can be sure to win handsome wagers with the impressive intelligence that will aid you in coming up with a massive win!


With that said, make sure to stay tuned to the latest soccer updates and other sports with GambleSpot! We provide the latest blogs, betting guides, game analyses, predictions, and many other sports-related content that will give you an advantage in putting up impressive wagers to help you score a win!


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