Video Assistant Referee or VAR as it is popularly called is a term that brings wide smiles to many faces, and frustration to many others, depending on how it affects you. These mixed fortunes have become a crucial part of the game of football in the top flight leagues of the world over the past three years.
The introduction of VAR into top flight football started with the 2017 A- League season in Australia, then the Major League Soccer in the United States of America also adopted the system, the system was also used at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
However, the introduction of VAR to the top European leagues started with the Bundesliga and the Serie A at the beginning of the 2017/18 football season, this was followed by the La Liga and the English Premiership in the 2018/19 season with the noble aim of finding a way to correct “clear and obvious errors” and “serious missed incidents”.
However, since the introduction of the VAR system, the footballing landscape has not been the same again. There has been unending controversies about decisions in the game which negates the very reason why the system was introduced in the first place.
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The betting community has not been left out of this divisive technological input in football. There are many who have reaped the reward of VAR as decisions went in their favour to help the teams on their ticket get favourable results that help their bet tickets win, on the other hand, there have been some bettors who have been badly burnt by the application of VAR as their celebrations were cut short due to decision reversal.
The far reaching effect of VAR in football betting is seen in a recent scenario where a bettor had selected a total of six (6) games on his bet ticket staking N10, 000 with the hope of winning N350, 000. One of the games on his ticket was the match between Sheffield United and Tottenham, predicting both teams to score and any of the teams to win.
The game ended in a 1 – 1 draw and that effectively voided his winning that ticket. That was the only game on the ticket that did not go as predicted; however, a VAR decision was actually behind his loss of that bet. Referee Graham Scott had the game delayed for 3minutes and 47seconds as the screen in the stadium indicated that VAR was checking a first goal scored by Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick.
The goal was eventually overturned and reversed when the VAR verdict determined that John Lundstram’s big toe was in the off-side position in the build-up to the goal. This is one of many other instances where VAR had greatly impacted sports betting in recent times.
In a stakeholders meeting in November 2019, the English Premier League (EPL) decided that there will not be any major changes to the operations of the Video Assistant Referee, thus the status quo will be maintained with all the human errors that are likely to affect accurate decisions.
Sincerely, VAR decisions can be in favour of, or against a bettor, and since VAR has come to stay, bettors should view VAR as a part of the game, and as a part of their luck indices. After all, if decisions go in your favour, the only voice that will be heard is that of jubilation.
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