Scotland gets VAR: Why football's new mantra should perhaps be 'don't mention the VAR' – Scotsman comment

The introduction of ‘video assistant referee’, aka VAR, technology to Scottish football is a welcome and, some would say, overdue step.

Scotland's referees will soon be able to use VAR to make better decisions (Picture: Ian Kington/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland's referees will soon be able to use VAR to make better decisions (Picture: Ian Kington/AFP via Getty Images)

It holds out the promise of better sportsmanship, and, to be blunt, less cheating – although it can hardly be said that diving and deliberate fouls have been eradicated from the English game, despite the ability of referees to make judgements based on views of key incidents from a variety of angles and in slow motion.

However it also introduces a whole new debate to Scottish football – and not just “why didn’t the ref go to the video” or “how could they not see that?”

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For, some teams stand to benefit from the presence of VAR, while others, dare we suggest, will suffer as a consequence of closer scrutiny of their actions and better decision-making.

The beautiful game has always had its exponents of the dark arts, some elegant, others blatant or brutal, but cheaters just the same.

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Players expert in raking their studs down the Achilles’ tendon of an opponent who has just passed the ball, taking the referee’s eye elsewhere, or turning slight contact into a ‘stonewall penalty’ should soon find that their usual tricks are not as effective.

The Scotsman, of course, would not dare to suggest the names of any teams who face a slide down the table or the players whose transfer fees are about to take a hit, but others might.

Given how high passions can run on such subjects, we fear things might get a bit heated. Perhaps we shouldn’t even have mentioned it...

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