VAR: Did it arrive to Spain to do justice or to make things worse?

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It is time to judge the results of how the VAR is applied in the League, as during this season there have been several controversies. The most shocking case: Atlético de Madrid vs Real Madrid

VAR: Did it arrive to Spain to do justice or to make things worse?

It is assumed that the arrival of the VAR to the League, considered by many the best in the world, has been to impart justice and to erase in some way the ghosts around the tournament regarding the arbitration aid for the two great teams: Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, until the 2018-19 season, it has not been like that. Why that has happened is precisely what this writer wants to explain here in LatinAmerican Post.

Leer en español: VAR: ¿llegó a España para hacer justicia o para empeorar las cosas?

Recently, in the match between Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid in the Metropolitan Wanda, some controversies worthy of analysis were raised. In fact, the 'colchonero' team, who lost 3-1, publicly requested to explain the VAR's way of acting after a hand by Real Madrid's Casemiro in the midfielder area, which was not noted as a penalty.

For the second time, the VAR intervened again to cancel a goal that seemed legal for the newcomer Álvaro Morata and that meant 2-2 at that time. Morata was again 'victim' of the VAR shortly after, when he was denied a penalty after a foul he received from Casemiro. The reason argued by judge Estrada Fernández not to grant him the penalty was that he touched the ball with his hand when he fell in the penalty area.

Without going very far, only a couple of weeks ago, it was Real Madrid who complained about a lack of Sebastián Rulli to Vinicius Jr. in the match against Real Sociedad. The annoyance of the 'merengue' club because it was not even reviewed the play was such that the manager Santiago Solari said at a press conference that if the VAR was not used in these cases of relevance it lost its reason.

The matter does not end there: on the same day Valladolid had previously complained about a misplaced offside game against Valencia and that deprived them of a legitimate victory. The play was generated in the 92nd minute when the match was almost over and Plano shot the goalkeeper Neto in an apparent regulatory position, which was not even reviewed by the VAR.

Again the referees were wrong in the way of using the VAR and, worse, in a game of direct elimination. It was in the match between Getafe and Atlético de Madrid for the Copa del Rey, in which it allegedly sanctioned a penalty kick that was transformed by Antoine Griezmann into a goal for the 'Colchoneros'. Getafe protested and hours earlier Levante had done the same.

Another controversial move influenced by the VAR was the goal of Sergio Canales in presumed advanced position, during the game against Real Madrid, which at the time meant the 1-1 draw. In the end, the incident did not have much impact because Dani Ceballos's free-kick goal ended up giving victory to the 'Merengue' team at the Benito Villamarín stadium.

Also read: VAR: What does it need to be applied in all Latin American soccer leagues?

Does the same thing happen in other leagues?

We try to base ourselves in Spain mainly, as it was the league that recently introduced it, but the truth is that in France there was another fact of misapplication of the VAR in a match between Nice and the Girondins de Bourdeaux. On this occasion, at the end of the match, the coach of the aforementioned second club, Eric Bedouet, assured that the VAR was incomprehensible and that it was not clear what it was used for.

If we review the Bundesliga in Germany, one of the most memorable cases, that can be interpreted as denaturalization of the game, occurred in a match between Mainz and Freiburg. Pablo de Blasis made a penalty for Mainz, who placed the game 2-0, but the impact of the case is that the referee had already sentenced the end of the first half and only when he went to the dressing room he was warned that a play needed to be evaluated by the VAR. The players had to return. Really unusual.

Italy's Serie A is the one with the least controversial cases and in which, therefore, for the time it has been applied, it has worked better. In this league they have promoted campaigns to help both the fans and the referees to understand it better. Since its inception, it has been used 43 times in Calcium.


The VAR is not perfect, even if it is a machine. It is not perfect because its application depends on the criteria of a human. It is the first aspect that should be clear. From this human criterion, subject to error, it is necessary to prepare more thoroughly the referees in these important leagues and those of the world in general in which the VAR is already applied.

An appreciation can change the fate of a game; the application or not of the VAR based on that appreciation as well. So, it is not the VAR as such that is failing. Another thing, the arbitration preparation should also be directed to act with a firm hand in the European big clubs, to avoid suspicions and comments that continue to harm justice, the correct transit of a match and the referee's reputation.


LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

Translated from "VAR: ¿llegó a España para hacer justicia o para empeorar las cosas? "