VAR: Does women’s football need it in the Champions League?

VAR

UEFA have confirmed that Video Assistant Referee technology (VAR) will be used in the Women’s Champions League from the quarter finals onwards next season.

This comes after the organisation announced a four-fold increase in financial support, which will ensure 24 million euros is redistributed to benefit the sport.

Does women’s football need this money to be invested elsewhere though? Manchester United manager Casey Stoney has been critical of the standard of refereeing in the past, but even she has previously said that the women’s game “can spend its money on far better things than VAR.”

Indeed, though women have long called for more investment, support and equal treatment, the absence of technology is something the men's game would envy right now.

The bizarre offside calls, the ludicrous penalty decisions and utterly unfathomable red cards –– are these nonsensical rulings not something the women’s game should actively be trying to avoid?

Casey Stoney

Of course, there will always be poor refereeing decisions from time to time, irrespective of technology, but for the most part, there appears to be consistency at the very least.

Stoney and Joe Montemurro both criticised the officials following Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over United in the Women’s Super League earlier this year, but given the anger across both camps, you could say the poor decisions evened themselves out.

Imagine some of the late drama we’d have been robbed of this year as well. Chloe Kelly’s late winner for Manchester City against Reading would’ve been checked to see if there was a foul two minutes prior. Ruby Mace’s 94th-minute equaliser against West Ham may have been overruled because someone had their nose offside for a split second.

This isn’t football and never will be. Keeping this problematic system away from the women’s game may actually serve to attract a larger audience from those who want more excitement, more last-minute drama and less rigorous accuracy.

VAR is already being used for the Women’s Champions League final. Instead of introducing it more, the real step forward should be getting rid of it once and for all.

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