The amazing technology behind football VAR technology
VAR is a big part of modern football. It's a great way to avoid the problem of inevitable mistakes that field referees can make. The technology behind it is some of the most cutting-edge in the sporting industry and gives the assistant referee the best possible tools to help the referee make the right decisions. But what actually is the technology involved with VAR? Let's find out.
Naturally, the core of VAR technology is video technology. This is the primary way that VAR works. VARs conduct their reviews of the games from the VOR, or the video operations room. This can be in the stadium itself, but it can also be in a remote location.
Every camera in the stadium can be linked to the VOR, meaning that the VAR can get virtually any angle they want. Replays, naturally, are a key part of VAR technology, and so there is always a replay operator to assist the VAR. This is obviously key for things like offside calls, and which way throw-ins or corners should be given. But it's also important for checking fouls.
The VAR will have two monitors—one displaying the main-play view, and one with split screens showing various other cameras. All of the VAR's assistants should also have their own monitors. The number of assistants and personnel is going to depend on the game. For World Cup games, there might be up to nine people manning the monitors.
With personal tagging devices, anyone in the VAR's room can mark key moments in the game on a timeline, for the purposes of later replay.
In 2,400 incidents checked during the season of 2019/20, 109 decisions were overturned by the VAR. That's an average of one overturned decision every three and a half games. VAR is still not perfect, but it makes a huge difference in the overall leagues by picking up on these erroneous decisions.
But the technology at a VAR's disposal doesn't end there. One of the most advanced pieces of technology used by VAR's is the virtual 3D view. Using AI and a cross reference of many camera views, VAR technology can create a 3D view of a player on the pitch.
Through this, they can determine whether the player was offside, among other things. Naturally, the issue of the offside rule is one of the most common calls referees have to make. Some teams can receive offside calls as much as 7 times per match, on average.
This technology is now accurate to within a factor of only a few millimetres. Using AI means that the 3D model can be created infinitely more efficiently than if it was done by human hands.
Of course, the technology has also drawn some scepticism. Some feel it just isn't accurate enough yet and many betting sites like those seen at Findbettingsites betting sites, now have clauses on paying out where VAR is used. With that in mind, more cameras are going to be added in the future to give AI an even better view of what's going on.
Of course, the VAR wouldn't be much good without a robust toolkit of audio aids. The VAR will be equipped with a two-way communication system putting them in direct contact with the match officials for the whole game.
Any and all VOR staff, as well as all officials on the pitch, will have channels to communicate with the match officials and back to the VAR, too. All of these exchanges are recorded to ensure integrity, as some are limited and can only be heard in a closed channel.
This technology might seem a bit simpler, but audio tech like this can still break down in some cases. Making sure that the VAR and their staff are equipped with the best possible audio connections means that decisions can be discussed and taken as swiftly as possible.
So, as you can see, the technology in principle is actually quite simple. It's mostly just video screens and audio connections between different people in the stadium and on the pitch. But that said, the way it is used to account for more or less all possible eventualities is what makes it truly amazing. AI and 3D technology help to illuminate otherwise impossible decisions.