A recent YouGov survey has found that more than 67% of football fans believe VAR has made the game less enjoyable.
Video assistant referees were introduced at the start of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign, but the technology has come under frequent criticism throughout the season with players and managers highlighting the inconsistent and intrusive nature of VAR decisions.
The survey of 1,396 adults published this week showed that:
- 67% of fans felt that matches were less enjoyable since the implementation of VAR
- 74% saying the technology should be kept but modified
- 8% want to keep VAR as it is used now
- 15% of supporters believe VAR should be stopped entirely
- 81% felt supporters should see reviews at the same time as officials
- 80% encouraged the wider usage of pitch side monitors
The technology was also given an average rating of just 4/10 by the survey’s participants.
YouGov has also revealed that fans in the North West – home to both Manchester clubs and Liverpool – are most dissatisfied with the performance of VAR, with 35% of fans in the region saying it has worked ‘very badly’.
Lead data researcher Matt Smith stated:
Despite much social media hysteria, our research shows that a large majority of those watching the games actually want to see it reformed over a complete removal. In addition, many of the changes discussed amongst pundits and commentators poll well, with support for time limits on decisions and encouragement for more pitch-side screen use.
One of the major criticisms of the current system is that the spectator in the stadium is left in the dark while decisions are made and there is strong support for being able to see footage as it’s being shown to VAR refs, as well as hearing the conversation the referees and the video assistant referees are having.
The Premier League have pledged to hold an education meeting with club supporter groups in order to explain how and why VAR is used in certain situations. They have also conducted their own independent research into VAR, with their findings set to be revealed at a meeting on Thursday.
YouGov interviewed fans between January 15-22, who watch Premier League matches very or fairly frequently.