Liverpool and Man United fans loathe VAR the most, poll reveals

Mike Dean, Anthony Taylor, VAR

A poll conducted by BBC Sport has revealed that just a third of football fans across the country believe VAR has made football better - compared to 44% feeling it has made the beautiful game worse. 

VAR was initially introduced in English football back in 2018 and it was then adopted full-time by the Premier League at the start of last season. 

But it has created constant controversy over its application, particularly in regards to handballs inside the penalty area, its capacity to judge offside calls with microscopic precision and what qualifies as "clear and obvious" refereeing errors - which VAR has a mandate to overturn. 

Inevitably, the introduction of VAR has also resulted in extended stoppages in play and tense pauses after goals have been scored, with players, managers and fans anxiously waiting to discover whether seemingly legitimate goals will be ruled out. 

The Premier League is now nearly 18 months into the VAR era and it seems fans, on the whole, are still yet to be convinced - with only a third believing the additional technology has actually made football better. 

Older fans appear to be particularly disgruntled by VAR - 59% of fans over 55 believe it has made football worse - as well as supporters of Liverpool and Manchester United. 

Liverpool have seen the most goals ruled out by VAR this season, a staggering five in just ten games, while it has also been used to confirm one goal against them.

That perhaps explains why a mere 26% of Liverpool fans believe VAR has made football more exciting, while only 34% believe it has improved the game and just 28% feel it is being applied consistently. 

Amongst Manchester United supporters, who have seen their side have two goals ruled out by VAR this season, only 32% feel that VAR has improved the sport and a paltry 29% believe its introduction has made football a more exciting spectacle. 

Anthony Taylor VAR

GIVEMESPORT's Christy Malyan says...

The jury is still well and truly out on VAR it seems, but how much of this is down to the technology itself, and how much is a result of the laws of the game not catching up with it?

Yes, there have been subjective calls from time-to-time resulting in inconsistencies, but the biggest grievances ultimately surround VAR's capacity to evaluate incidents in granular detail - particularly when it comes to offsides and handballs. 

The problem is that neither law was conceived with the expectation that decisions could be made at such a minute level far surpassing the ability of the naked human eye. Now a computer is essentially being asked to make those decisions instead, it suddenly feels as though calls aren't being made in the spirit of the game. 

That obviously needs to be addressed for fans to be satisfied, but what is the alternative? If football scraps VAR altogether, the sport is basically saying it prefers wrong decisions to mind-numbingly accurate ones. 

That feels like a backwards step, but clearly something must change. VAR is just one of the many avenues in which fans feel football's governing bodies are making decisions without their best interests at heart. 

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