Don’t _miss

Wire Festival

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam blandit hendrerit faucibus turpis dui.


What are you looking for?

Image Alt



VAR: italian football fans approve of it and suggest some innovations

Italian fans are in favour of VAR in football, regardless of the team they support. A YouGov survey indicates some improvements would make it even more appreciated. VAR: italian football fans approve of it and suggest some innovations

In the summer of 2017, the football world changed forever. After years of fans protesting referee decisions, the Serie A took a revolutionary decision: to introduce VAR (video assistant referee), an assistant who helps the on-field referee on unclear situations (specifically indicated in the rulebook) thanks to videos and technologies that allow to rewatch the action many times. But has the introduction of VAR really helped reducing referee mistakes? Has it improved fans’ experience when watching a football match? Overall, are Italians in favour or against VAR? YouGov has cast light on this by interviewing more than 1000 Italian respondents representative of the population aged 18+.

VAR has decreased referee mistakes, but has not resolved controversies

Let’s start with the original purpose of VAR: help reducing referee mistakes. Upon this matter, the tool’s use in the Serie A is seen as a success, as almost half of the interviewees (48%) agree that “With the introduction of VAR, referee mistakes have decreased”, and this percentage grows to 53% among Serie A fans. Considering that 36% of respondents are distributed between neutral and no opinion, it means that only 17% of Italians think that VAR has not been able to fulfil its purpose. These results see no statistically significant differences among the fans of the most supported clubs (Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan), therefore the opinion on VAR does not depend on the football faith.

Even if VAR has helped referees, this does not mean that it is perfect on all its aspects. This is proven by the fact that the share of respondents who agree with the statement “Since the introduction of VAR, I enjoy the matches more” is dramatically lower, at 23%. Among Serie A fans, this percentage grows to 33% (1 out of 3) and it’s similar across supporters of the different teams, but it still seems troublingly low. However, those who disagree with such statement represent only 16% of Italians (24% among Serie A fans). This means that the majority of respondents simply see no difference since VAR has been introduced, declaring to have a neutral opinion or not taking a position. Interestingly, the portion of people who do not enjoy the matches anymore, while remaining a minority, is significantly higher among Juventus and AC Milan fans (25% and 27% respectively) than Inter Milan fans (15%).

This dissatisfaction is even more evident when looking at another insight, the real reason why people still talk about VAR so much. Indeed, 34% of respondents disagree with the statement “With the introduction of VAR, controversies have decreased”, 46% among Serie A fans (in this case without differences between Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus fans). Only 1 out of 3 supporters seems to believe that the use of technology has helped quelling post-match discussions.

Coach’s challenge may be the future.

To solve this problem and reduce protests it may be necessary to introduce some innovations on how the VAR is used. For this reason, some people within the football sector have come up with the proposal of the so called “coach’s challenge”, meaning that the teams could call for the referee to rewatch the action a predetermined number of times during the game, or in specific circumstances. This option seems to find the support of the Italians, with 59% in favour of this reform, a percentage that reaches 76% among the Serie A fans of all teams.

Italians support VAR

So, aside from any flaws and despite the controversies still in place, what is the ultimate opinion of the Italian population on this topic? Favourable, according to YouGov’s study. In fact, 65% of respondents has answered positively to the definitive question “Overall, do you consider yourself in favour or against the use of VAR in football matches?”, and this number grows to 76% among Serie A fans. Among these, Juventus fans are more timid, with a value of 70%, compared to Inter Milan fans (78%) and AC Milan fans (82%), but they all represent a confirmation that the majority of football followers promote the use of technology for referee decisions. In addition, when those who have a neutral opinion are excluded, the results indicate that only 7% of the fans are against VAR. In conclusion, this study shows that despite the discussions that are still linked to the matches, Italian football fans are in favour of the use of VAR, with no difference depending on the team they support.