FROM THE MIDDLE: Added VAR assistant at Euro 2020

This year’s European Championships, still called Euro 2020, started last Friday and for the first time it is using VAR. But what version will it be?

There should only be one version of course, but look at the great difference between the way it was introduced by the MLS in North America and by PGMO referees in the Premier League.

Take the pitch side monitor. The Premier League referees decided not to consult it, while in the MLS, one of the VAR trial leagues. referees were told that they must consult it.

Their reason, according to Howard Webb, England’s World Cup referee, who was engaged
to introduce it into the United States, was that this conformed with the laws of the game, which says that ‘the decisions of the referee, regarding the facts connected with play, are final.’

Not those of someone watching a television set in a building somewhere else.
Premier League referees have since been told by FIFA that they must consult the monitors.

Then comes the offside law. In the Premier League, for a possible offside, a digital line is drawn across the pitch to discover whose boot is nearer the goal line.

Why the boot? ‘That’s the law’, one Premier League referee told me.

But it isn’t, of course, the law says any part of the head, body or feet (but not the hands or arms).

So a part of the defender’s body or head may be nearer than an attackers feet but the VAR can’t measure that because it’s cameras are static and unlikely to be level with play at the moment
was played.

In the MLS they have no lines. The referee looks at the monitor and decides whether it clear and obvious that a player is offside.

If not, offside is not given. This is what any offence is supposed to be, clear and obvious.
For Euro 2020, there is to be an additional assistant VAR, an offside assistant VAR.

Will it make any difference? We can only wait and see but let’s hope it won’t count on players toeing
the line.

By Dick Sawdon Smith

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