Video Assistant Referee (VAR) – EURO 2024

EURO 2024 is just a few months away, get ready for a month full of high-level football matches featuring the world’s best talent, along with a bunch of surprises to either keep us on the edge of our seats, or perhaps leave us frustrated. Often times these situations can be associated with VAR, also known as video assistant referee, which has been highly controversial since its introduction to the sport. Let’s take a quick look at VAR and how UEFA intend to use it for the upcoming Euros.

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What is VAR?

A video assistant referee system (VAR) is a support tool for the referee on the pitch, and the game in general. Throughout football history, there have been countless incidents involving fouls, disallowed goals, offside decisions, you name it, that were given incorrectly and unjustly due to human error. With VAR coming into the game, the aim is to eliminate all clear and obvious errors to strive for a fairer game by assisting the referee to make the correct decisions.

VAR can be used in two ways, the referee can request a review, or the video assistant can alert the on-field referee to come over to the screen to analyse an incident, leading to several short stoppages in play.

VAR, who sits in a room in a team made up of three referees, has access to all camera angles and goal line technology cameras. In the stadium itself and around the field, up to 30 cameras could be installed in order to provide the VAR team with the best chance possible of making the correct call.

VAR in EURO Qualifiers

There are nearly 60 leagues and several dozen domestic tournaments that use VAR. Major leagues such as the Premier League and Serie A use VAR, and the same goes for international football. VAR has also been used for all EURO Qualifiers.

That being said, many are far from happy with VAR so far, feeling that the technology causes too much disruption, as well as leaving fans in the stadium unaware of what is going on while checks are being carried out. One particular incident in the qualifiers enraged supporters when Scotland had a goal incorrectly ruled out against Spain.

VAR EURO 2024 Changes

VAR is often implemented in all major league and cup competitions. In EURO 2024, a new initiative for VAR has been introduced, one which will look to alleviate the tensions around the technology.

The new EURO 2024 ball has recently been released, and in addition to being another must-have for collectors, it will provide significant assistance to the VAR referees in Germany.

Adidas’ new ball contains cutting-edge technology and is said to help reduce the time it takes VAR referees to make offside decisions. With more data available, the referee can hopefully make better, faster and more accurate decisions.

The sensor in the ball can send data to the refereeing team 500 times a second, with Adidas claiming that it should now only take an average of 25 seconds to determine whether a player was offside or onside.

UEFA has also proposed that the technology should help with handball and penalty decisions. Despite the ball not being able to register exactly where on a player’s body it touched, it should still help referees make correct refereeing decisions.

In addition, there have also been rumours of having the entire VAR thought process published live to the audience in the stadium and everyone else watching on TV. This is an approach used in rugby games, but it is not confirmed for the Euros in Germany.

VAR Impact on European Championship 2024

VAR will certainly have a big role at the European Football Championship, but will it be a negative or a positive? Since VAR came on the field, there have been divided opinions. This is due to VAR not always doing its job when it comes to making the correct decisions for red cards, penalties, questionable offsides, etc. Many accuse VAR of ruining the game with the many stoppages and often it seems that the extra help is not used when it matters most.

For EURO 2024, the spotlight will be on VAR once again, as the new chip ball promises change and a reduction in stoppages. Let’s see how this plays out.

VAR Impact Stats

The philosophy behind VAR has always been pretty clear – minimal confusion, maximum benefit. VAR must help evaluate incidents through video recordings, which remove all confusion and doubt about a situation.

However, despite these advantages, there exists very intense debate about the negative consequences of this technology. Among them are interruptions in playing time due to breaks, high financial costs of implementation or referees’ loss of authority over the players on the pitch.

What effect has VAR actually had on the game? Several studies have been published and have made it possible to assess the impact of the VAR system on Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga from Germany and other major leagues.

We have looked at the results from all these studies and here is the image on VAR:

  • 13% of viewers do not support VAR.
  • The average VAR intervention time is 55 seconds.
  • It takes about 20 seconds to complete a VAR review.
  • The majority of VAR incidents (57.4%) are related to goals and penalties.
  • The cost of using VAR is $6.5 million for a single season.
  • In 2018, 86% of the population was in favour of VAR.
  • The number of fouls and red cards decreased after the implementation of the VAR system.
  • Total playing time, as well as in the first and second half, increased between 30-120 seconds on average. The game lasts longer, especially in the second half.


What is Video Assistant Referee (VAR)?

VAR is used by the referee in football to check incidents where the referee needs clear images to assess the situation more correctly.

When was Video Assistant Referee introduced?

VAR was developed in 2010 in the Netherlands and was first used professionally in a football match in the KNVB Cup between Ajax and Willem II on 21 September 2016.

How much does Video Assistant Referee cost?

VAR is incredibly expensive and costs millions, as a lot of equipment and extra officials must be present for each match.

How does Video Assistant Referee work?

If the referee could not make an immediate decision, he can choose to re-watch the incident on the side lines via a TV screen. The referee can also communicate with VAR referees who are sitting in another room with several camera angles.

Will VAR be used in the UEFA EURO 2024?

Yes, VAR will be used for UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany.