Magic V.A.R. on the wall…

Video Assisted Referee. Creative Commons Picture: Sounderbruce

It may be the beautiful game, but it wasn’t and isn’t always the fairest. Technology gives us a huge opportunity to change that, but its effect could also overshadow the game with endless debate over conflicting interpretations.

The interpretation of movement and interaction on-screen is the epitome of VAR analysis. Where can we find one with such expertise? Such analysis happens to be the purview of an animation director, right down to the detail of anticipating intentions.

With V.A.R. comes an increased capacity of scrutiny. The side-effect of this is the infinite number of interpretations that has every fan and official alike debating like the survival of the world depended on it. The laws of the game need a clear and comprehensive update, not just from the traditional football officials and experts, but it needs the minds of technologist/programmers to structure the infinite number of interpretations

Until all that comes to pass, an animator-technologist-programmer-footballer takes a stab at it. It’s ianjurytime.


Imagine we build the perfect Artificial Intelligence system that could get every decision correct, and justify it immediately too! What are the football issues that humans most catastrophically struggle with?

  1. Top of the list has to be the slew of “clearly unintentional” ball-to-hand penalties that decide (and ruin) so many games, such as the UCL Final and at one stage, every other game in the Women’s World Cup 2019.
  2. If a defender first tries to illegally block an attacker from getting the ball, but the attacker is strong enough to get free…BUT…the defender falls over. The ref – almost always – awards an offensive foul. Shouldn’t the first offence be penalised?
  3. The evolution of the offside rule. Where are we now?

What are your opinions on these? Are there other burning questions that need resolution?