MADRID (Reuters) – Video assistant refereeing (VAR) has been introduced to football to ensure fairer results, but not everybody is happy about that.
While some complaints about VAR focus on disruption to the flow of the game while decisions are reached and confusion for spectators in the stadium, Sevilla’s Roque Mesa has a more underhand reason for disliking the system.
Even though his team benefited from it during the Spanish Super Cup in Tangier, with VAR awarding Pablo Sarabia the opening goal after it had been flagged offside in a 2-1 defeat by Barcelona, Mesa wasn’t entirely won over.
“On one hand VAR is good, but on the other hand, you lose a bit of the essence of football,” said the playmaker. “You can no longer trick or cheat (the officials).”
La Liga is incorporating VAR this season and Spanish referees have been putting in the hours of practice with the system, which will limit the opportunity for players to practise football’s dark arts.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde approves of the technology, even though it set his team back in the game.
“It’s good in terms of judging these type of plays. The key is for it not to affect the rhythm of the game,” he told El Pais. “But it’s fairer. In the end, it’s normal that technology helps.”
(Reporting by Rik Sharma, editing by Ed Osmond)