Anyone who watched the Everton vs Tottenham game this week will be aware that the backlash the referee, Chris Kavanagh is facing at the moment. This frustration was experienced by fans on both sides on the night, as it seemed that the referee was in two minds for the entire ninety minutes. Taking centre stage in the clash, the referee kept switching between letting the game flow leniently and restricting every little offence that he saw. Of course, this is not useful for any competition as there it creates ambiguity about the rules and leads to an inconsistent game. This affects fans and bettors who have staked money on the game with the assumption that it will be adjudged fairly, though if people use this good resource when it comes for more sites to bet on, they can find useful features that give them insurances on some games.
Of course, this kind of performance from a referee never bodes well for the game to come as it means that one of or both sides are going to lose their heads about a decision that unfairly went against them. Indeed, the result of the match is a fitting end to what was foreshadowed in the opening half of the game, as both teams failed to find the target across 90 minutes. Controversial technology VAR was used in abundance during this fixture, mainly during the second half.
The first instance came when Richarlison was bought down by the keeper inside the box, and the referee initially awarded Everton a penalty for the infringement. However, the replays show that world-renowned keeper Hugo Lloris did in fact touch the ball before he hit Richarlison’s leg, therefore making the attempted save a legal challenge. The amount of time that Kavanagh looked at the screen is indicative of how much VAR is changing football, a sport that had remained without technological intervention for so long. Of course, there are two vocal groups who both love and detest VAR, so the question is still out on whether it has been a successful implementation into the greatest sport in the world.
It also brings into question greater issues with the game, or certainly, how VAR affects the rules of football as has been established. Time was, that if the referee adjudged a foul to result in a penalty, then the team would get a penalty, and that was that. However, as was found in the game on Monday night, there is no logical law for what happens after a decision like this is overturned. Spurs had not yet technically won possession after the ball left Richarlison, so what happens next? Well, Tottenham get possession awarded to them, of course.
The decision baffled many Everton supporters on the night and highlighted issues with the league’s implementation of VAR. The other incident came following a challenge on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg by Mason Holgate, who was given red by the referee. VAR was used to check this of course and showed clearly that it was a dangerous challenge. However, this frustrated an already agitated Everton fan base, whose boos at the end of the match were certainly directed towards the match officials rather than the opposition.
VAR has certainly had a massive impact on football since its introduction, but whether it will end up being a good or bad thing for the sport remains to be seen.