Scotland is set to experience its first-ever use of VAR this week, as the much-lauded and controversial football tool comes to Ibrox for the first time as part of its use in the last-32 of the Europa League.
It will be the first time in Scottish history that video evidence will be on hand to correct controversial or wrong decisions, and will give a big sample to viewers and the Ibrox crowd just how well (or otherwise) VAR would work as part of the domestic game.
We’re sure our readers mostly know how it works, but for those in the dark, the referee is in contact with a new group of referees, who sit together in a video conference room with replay screens all over the place.
When a big call is made by the ref, and there might be an issue of doubt, the ‘assistant’ referees consult the replays from multiple angles and if they agree 2 to one that it warrants the ref having a second thought, they’ll relay that by earpiece and the ref then indicates a ‘square’ for consulting the replays as relayed by a small screen on the side of the pitch.
This then means there can be no argument about the outcome whatever he chooses – he’s seen the same replays and evidence we have, and it’s then down to personal opinion what outcome he goes with. But we can’t any longer say ‘how did he not see that’ or ‘he got that one wrong’ because a professional, highly-trained ref at that level with the clear evidence pretty much isn’t going to get it any more wrong than any punter watching on TV.
This technology was first-used in Italy’s Serie A, and to the best of our knowledge, Ibrox Noise can only recall one time where the evidence was consulted and the referee stuck to their original call.
99% of the time, the room for doubt is enough to suggest the ref got it wrong.
But either way, right or wrong, it’s finally coming to Ibrox. And we can finally see how it might work as installed on a more permanent basis.