Not a week goes by without fans arguing about a contentious penalty or offside decision in a match. The introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in 2016 to football matches was made to bring an end to these controversies but if anything it’s only served to make some worse.
It’s not just players and clubs who are affected – but punters too. One punter thought he has been robbed of a massive £2,732, 14-leg accumulator payout on December 11 when VAR controversially ruled out Marius Wolf’s equaliser for Dortmund, saying that Jude Bellingham was standing in an offside position and blocking the view of the keeper as Wolf struck the ball.
However, thanks to Betfair ambassador and former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov, the lucky bettor got his winnings. Berbatov was adamant that the goal should have stood and said that it was wrong that a punter should lose out to a bad decision when he got 1 leg of his bet right.
Full 14-fold accumulator:
- Man City to beat Wolves - WIN
- Arsenal to beat Southampton - WIN
- Chelsea to beat Leeds - WIN
- Liverpool to beat Aston Villa - WIN
- Man United to beat Norwich - WIN
- Fiorentina v Salernitana – Over 1.5 goals - WIN
- Venezia v Juventus – Over 1.5 goals - WIN
- Udinese v AC Milan – Over 1.5 goals - WIN
- Bayern Munich v Mainz – Over 2.5 goals - WIN
- Bochum v Dortmund – Over 2.5 goals – LOSS – Berbatov rules Dortmund’s disallowed goal should have stood, therefore this leg is a winner
- Freiburg v Hoffenheim – Over 1.5 goals - WIN
- RB Leipzig v Mgladbach – Over 1.5 goals – WIN
- Wolfsburg v Stuttgart – Over 1.5 goals - WIN
- Sporting to beat Boavista – WIN
Betfair have resettled or refunded more than 300 bets already this season based on Berbatov’s decisions. Stuart from footballbettingsites.org.uk said: "The decision made by Betfair shows once again why the online bookmaker is so popular among punters. While it’s an element of the PR campaign, football betting sites should follow this path to attract new customers".
That punter was lucky; many others haven’t been. Despite being brought in to stop obvious errors, VAR has been the centre of controversy with tight offside calls being given based on millimetres of space, along with harsh penalties for handball. Indeed, during the 2020-21 Premier League season every single Premier League club was affected by VAR decisions with only Newcastle United going the whole season without a decision overturned against them.
VAR from perfect
VAR is still in its infancy and Lukas Brud, secretary of the International Football Association board has made it clear that he thinks it will be another five years until we’re at the stage where people fully understand how VAR works in practice. He made it clear that referees make mistakes not because they are not good at their job, but because they are human and the idea of VAR is to give them something to fall back on to ensure that mistakes can be quickly rectified.
We’ve put together a page to show you exactly how VAR works, from what decisions can be reviewed to understanding how the process works. We’ve also looked at contentious decisions from the past and how they would have been affected if the referee had access to the VAR system. Would Geoff Hurst’s second goal against West Germany in the 1966 cup final have stood? Would a penalty have been given for the collision between Harald Schumacher and Patrick Battiston at the 1982 World Cup?
There’s only one way to find out – and that’s to read more at this link.