War over VAR has broken out. The TV replay check for contentious decisions was used all through the Rugby World Cup, and is now deployed for football games in the English Premier League. And a right old stushie it’s causing.

So far as I can detect, the case for the prosecution goes as follows: it slows the game down and takes far too long; it leaves fans in limbo not knowing whether to celebrate a goal which might be chalked off at any moment; and it’s stopping referees trusting their own judgement and consulting technology far too often.

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Well, yes. All that is so. And it’s true, too, that where refs have a pitch side monitor to consult during the replay, too many of them don’t bother to look, relying on the verdict of the video ref.

I suspect a lot of the hostility is just the typical suspicion of anything novel. And eventually it’ll become part and parcel of the modern game experience.

Particularly when they get round to putting the video evidence on the big screens so that the fans know what the fuss is about.

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A very long time ago Hawkeye came to tennis – the replay letting everyone know whether a ball was actually out. Nobody would want to go back to relying on the umpire’s eyes or the manufactured rage of the competitors.

You can’t be serious, screamed Hawkeye’s early critics. But they were. And the game is more honest for it.

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