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VAR Controversy and the Increase in Penalties

Can VAR completely eliminate human error?

VAR is still a major talking point of the Premier League, isn’t it? And I think it always will be as long as it’s around. The bizarre thing for me is that it was introduced to try and eliminate human error, yet human interpretation is still causing decisions to be called incorrectly.

Cast your minds back to the Manchester United penalty which was awarded after full-time in their match against Brighton. This decision might have been correct in fairness (It was definitely a silly handball) so I’ll hold back from criticising the referee Chris Kavanagh – But, it still doesn’t change the fact that it caused a whole lot of confusion. Can you imagine the uproar if fans were in attendance? A full Amex Stadium applauding their team for securing a hard-earned point against one of the biggest clubs in the world, only for the referee to go back and award a penalty AFTER blowing the final whistle.

Breaking records

Anyway – the amount of penalties that has been awarded since VAR was introduced to the Premier League in June 2020 is crazy! Prior to its introduction, the season tally for penalties had only broken 100 on four occasions in the Premier League era. The two seasons with VAR; 124 in 2021/22 and 103 in 2022/23. Last season, Man City and Chelsea were both awarded a league-high 9 penalties. The season prior to that, Leicester topped the charts with 12 penalties awarded – that’s a penalty every 3 games!

Betting on the big decisions

Did you know you can bet on penalties to be awarded, whether it’s just a penalty in the match or even to be awarded to a certain team? With VAR the odds will factor in that penalties are awarded much more frequently, but it’s still an interesting bet.

With VAR, you see the officials behind the technology drawing all of these lines and it’s like they’re trying to manufacture an offside call or a foul, it’s strange. It brings me back to when Bamford was pointing to where he wanted the ball to be played, so it was his arm that was deemed offside. How can that be when it’s not a body part that you can score with? A product that was brought in to reduce the levels of human error, still produces human error with 3 or so officials behind it, it’s quite inexcusable.

I don’t mind VAR and I do think it can be exciting with the drama that it adds. Although it’s such a pain when a team in your bet scores and then end up ruling it out. You can’t celebrate until the teams kick off again! It’s opened up a can of worms in the betting world as the penalty awarded markets are becoming more popular and you can even bet on whether VAR will be used… The wave of penalties keeps on coming and it looks like we could still smash some Premier League penalty-taking records this season.

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