Take a closer look at what VIGA’s World Cup survey revealed about the England v Colombia game and the future of VAR.

Last night the majority of the country were eagerly tuned in to England’s most important contest of the World Cup so far – the first knockout game against Colombia. With England’s tournament record over the past 20 years being dismal, it came as no surprise the relief the nation felt at our first knockout win in 12 years and our first ever penalty shoot-out victory in the World Cup! Talking of firsts, it was also the birth year of technological refereeing being at our disposal – VAR.

To get a swift read on the public’s views on the match and the VAR technology, VIGA created and sent out a football survey to 1000 avid football fans across the UK. Findings showed that 80% of the UK population agreed Gareth Southgate was spot on regarding his squad selection with only a 6% minority disagreeing with Southgate’s decision to rest 9 key players during the Belgium game.

Similarly, respondents were quizzed on their thoughts surrounding VAR and particularly its use in the Colombia match. In response to last night’s game, the overall view on VAR’s effectiveness was mixed with 28% suggesting it wasn’t accurate on the policing of the game. Respondents indicated that the main reasons for their stance on this question were disputes around ‘The Colombian team deserving a red card for the headbutt on Henderson’ and ‘The Colombians not being punished enough for their antics during the game’. On the other hand, 4 out of 5 people surveyed stated they were happy to sacrifice game time in order to allow referees to make the correct decision with the aid of VAR.

Overall, the game was a win for the future of VAR as the population decided they were happy to see the world of football moving forward into the realm of technological mediating as only 2% of fans suggested they were against the introduction of video assistant referees in the Premier League. This contrasts with the recent confirmation that Premier League clubs have voted against the use of VAR next season, which shows that the fans are more accepting of its deficiencies than the clubs competing in domestic leagues.

 

Ross Cafferkey – Operation Support Executive – VIGA