VAR Controversies Ranked

Since VAR’s inception, there has been controversy surrounding it. VAR initially received praise because referees’ decisions frequently affected games and led many people to believe that football was out of date. However, there has been controversy surrounding it ever since it first appeared in the 2019–20 season.



This has made players, fans, and officials all angry, as it takes away from the fun and spontaneity of the game and mitigates the level of responsibility of on-field referees. It has also created an atmosphere where people are arguing about VAR’s role and effect on the game.


With that in mind, we have ranked some of the most shocking VAR decisions made in Premier League history below, which left fans, players, and even referees confused.


5. Alex McCarthy Got Too Rough With Phil Foden

Unfortunately, on this afternoon, no matter how hard the Saints tried, their relentless opponents beat them 5-2. But what got the attention of reporters and fans all over the world was the referee’s inaction when Alex McCarthy brought down Phil Foden in the box after a heavy touch. Although VAR looked into what happened, it was ruled not to be a penalty, so Manchester City missed out on a clear one. Of course, it didn’t change the score because Pep Guardiola came ready to win and, maybe fired up by the debate, made sure his team did everything they could to secure it.


4. Liverpool’s Short End of The Stick at Old Trafford

The most famous and heated rivalry in English football is between Manchester United and Liverpool. The two giants play each other twice a season, and each game is usually very heated. Due to a terrible error by the referee and others at Stockley Park in October 2019, Liverpool was down 1-0 at Old Trafford.


Thanks to Divock Origi’s clear foul, Manchester United got the ball back, went up the other end, and scored through Marcus Rashford, giving United a 1-0 lead. Even though the goal was reviewed, it stood, and Klopp and Liverpool were understandably furious.


3. A Red Card for Fabian Balbuena

During a London match between West Ham and Chelsea, Fabian Balbuena received a wrong decision. The Paraguayan defender quickly kicked the ball up the field as Ben Chilwell closed in on him. After the game, the referee’s error must have infuriated many Hammers supporters. After Balbuena cleared the ball, he slipped because the ground gave way under his foot, causing his leg to hit Ben Chilwell, who was coming at him.


The referee and the people in the VAR room thought this was an unsafe tackle and an excessive use of force. This led to Balbuena being sent off, and Chelsea winning 0-1. Even though the red card was eventually repealed, West Ham’s chances of tying the game were already over.


2. An Unceremonious Sacking

In February 2023, Arsenal and Brentford played at the Emirates. Leandro Trossard scored the only goal, giving Arsenal a 1-0 lead over Brentford. Ten minutes later, though, Ivan Toney scored a controversial goal to tie the game at 1-1. The VAR judges got into trouble not because of the striker’s finish but because they didn’t notice that Christian Norgaard was offside when he received the ball.


The person in charge of the game’s technology, Lee Mason, focused the VAR review on the wrong player: Ethan Pinnock, who was found to be onside. This meant that the goal was given incorrectly. Lee Mason was fired swiftly (but later re-hired) and Arsenal lost two points in a truly terrible error of judgment.


1. Liverpool vs. Tottenham

This is, for many supporters, the worst VAR decision in Premier League history. This match had both teams starting undefeated, so the stakes were high. It turned out that Liverpool was on the losing end, but not because of anything they did wrong. At 0-0 in the 26th minute, the Reds were given a devastating blow when Curtis Jones was unfairly sent off for a tackle that was thought to put his opponent in danger. Unfortunately, there was more to come.


Liverpool thought they had broken the tie against Spurs, but Luis Diaz’s goal was judged to be offside. When you looked more closely, it was clear that the Colombian was onside. Klopp’s team did score an equalizer before being unfairly reduced to nine men and giving up the winning goal in the 96th minute.


However, the PGMOL released a statement stating that there was, in fact, a misunderstanding between VAR official Darren England and on-field referee Simon Hooper.


Not So Lucky

VAR decisions have proven, over and over again, to be inconsistent, not thorough enough, and sometimes just plain unfair. These outcomes can not only affect a team’s morale, but they can also affect the fans, who are ardent supporters both on and off the field.


Many spectators love and support their favorites so much that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is, and you will often find them placing a wager or two on a big game or important event.


As we can see, VAR decisions can affect the outcomes of games, meaning that even if you have studied your team or player and feel relatively confident in your wager, you never know which way it may swing. It is, of course, the nature of sports and betting on them, but it’s clear that a tool that was supposed to make things better in the football arena has raised a lot of controversy.


The moment a possible foul or goal is called and the VAR is checked, a lot is usually at stake. Fans and players are anxious, and betting sites can’t wait to update the odds. If you notice the match you’re interested in has a lot of VAR pauses, it’s best to place live bets and work with real-time stats.


However, if you had already placed a pre-game bet and your luck is in the hands of the VAR and the referee, then better luck next time. A good tip would be to try out the best betting offers for new customers to at least wager with free bets. Even if you lose a bet, it would be with the bonus money you were awarded.


When all is said and done, VAR continues to play a crucial role in the popular game that we all love. Some moments are justifiable while some are unfair, but that’s how the game is. As technology continues to improve with time, VAR might actually get better and better.





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