The VAR takes over the Champions League! Why did it take so long?

The VAR continues taking giant steps to join all the tournaments organized by FIFA and its affiliates

The VAR takes over the Champions League! Why did it take so long?

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is taking over the soccer world, despite the fact that many specialists are still not convinced. The truth is that you have to get used to it because today, at the end of 2018, there are more tournaments that use it. In addition, it was already announced that for the next edition of the biggest club tournament in Europe, the Champions League, it will also be used. I had already asked myself: if the VAR is the solution for justice to be more precise, then why is it not in the Champions?

Leer en español: ¡El VAR llegó a la Champions League! ¿Por qué demoró tanto?

The announcement made at the end of September generates a lot of expectation. The UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin of Slovenia has already said that the rush to announce it has to do with having more time to prepare referees for such important matches.

Impossible not to wonder what would have happened then at Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the 2016-17 edition. Or in that incredible 6-1 Barcelona won against PSG that same year. Possibly with the VAR the story would have been different. The truth is that the goal is to avoid mistakes that unfairly change the fate of a soccer match, especially in the final stages.

But anyway let's review the four situations that are established as conducive to using the VAR: when the referee is wrong or hesitates in goals scored, penalties, red card (when it is direct) and finally, in the identity of a player cautioned or expelled.

Do you remember the lack (for some yes and not others) of Mehdi Benatia to Cristiano Ronaldo in the return game of the quarterfinals of the last edition at the Santiago Bernabéu? I am sure that with the VAR the decision that would have been taken (penalty or not) would have generated tranquility and less claim in the short term. Perhaps the expulsion of Gianluigi Buffon had also been avoided.

Gradual incursion

The UEFA has at least been smart to incorporate this new element in its competitions. This is something that perhaps could be seen as premature of FIFA, which decided to include it in Russia's last World Cup 2018, even though it had a very positive result in the maximum competition of nations.

In the case of the main European leagues, the Serie A of Italy, the Bundesliga of Germany and the Ligue 1 of France, in that chronological order, have been incorporated with relative success. Especially in Italy, because in Germany there have been some criticisms for deficient uses of the resource.

Just in this season that has just started, the 18-19, was that the League of Spain opened the doors; but it still resists what for many is the most important League of the old continent and the world: the Premier League. Attention, that the VAR has already overcome the resistance of other English competitions such as the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup, which do implement it.

As you can see, the inclusion in the Champions League will only be the next step. Well, quite possibly the organism that manages European soccer will be operational in the 2019 European Supercup, the final phase of the rookie European Championship in 2020, the nascent European League in the 2020-21 season and in the final phase of the Nations League in 2021. Wherever you want to look, you will find the VAR. You have to get used to it if you are not already.


Once used in the highest tournament of this sport: the World Cup, it is difficult to think that the other competitions of both national teams and clubs will not implement it in the short or medium term. At least in Europe, which is the continent that we are talking about today because of the decision around the Champions League.

Now, it seems wise the year of preparation that Ceferin mentioned so that his referees are optimal in decisions of big teams. It is not the same to use the VAR in a Panama vs Tunisia, than in a Real Madrid against Manchester United, for example. That was one of the fears of the soccer world before Russia 2018. Will VAR apply to Brazil, Germany, Argentina or Spain if that decision leaves them out of the Cup?

Fortunately, the video refereeing worked quite well and generated few complaints from fans, soccer players and leaders in the last World Cup. That should be a good starting point for the Champions League and what this tournament implies in the world, especially for the interests of the great clubs of always.

If the decision is irreversible, and in the most skeptical will need a little more time to be accepted, then that applies well. I believe that UEFA is on the right track with the gradual incorporation, the previous examples of competitions concerning what has worked and the long-term preparation of the referees.

Why had not they used it before? Perhaps they were waiting for the results of this system in other competitions, the Champions League is quite something. All that's left is for the clubs to fit IGNORE INTO the European tournaments and once again the interest of the big one does not prevail over the small, so that the VAR is a success in Europe. Will we have fairer soccer? We all hope so.


LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

Translated from "¡El VAR llegó a la Champions League! ¿Por qué demoró tanto?"


* The opinion of the editor does not represent the average


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