Half of Football Fans In Favour of VAR

Updated: 134 Football

Half of Football Fans In Favour of VAR
Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

REVEALED: 50% of football fans ‘in favour’ of VAR

  • A new study has revealed that half (50%) of football fans believe VAR is good for the game

  • A third of fans believe the use of VAR has a negative impact on fan match-day experience

  • 32% admit VAR is used too often in the Premier League

  • Survey on football fans reveals how fans consume football post-pandemic and attitudes towards VAR

Almost 50% of football fans believe that VAR is good for the game but admit it can be improved, a new survey has revealed.

VAR has been a source of consistent frustration in the Premier League since it was introduced at the start of the 2019/20 season for disrupting celebrations and delaying the game, but fans are still in favour of the technology remaining in place.

Fans Would Love to see VAR Improved

A survey conducted by sports betting experts OLBG has gathered the opinions of 1,000 UK football fans to analyse how fans consume football in the post-pandemic world and their true feelings on VAR now that the system has been in place for two years in the Premier League.

I think it is a good idea but needs to be improved 48%
I believe that VAR should be used in every Premier League game 37%
I feel that VAR has a negative impact on fan experience 33%
I am in favour of VAR but feel it is used too often 32%
I feel like VAR is used too much in the Premier League 31%
I feel that VAR adds to the excitement of a game 27%
I don’t have an opinion VAR in the Premier League 10%
N/A - I do not watch the premier league 2%
(c)OnePoll 2021; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 1000  
Multiple comparison correction: False Discovery Rate (FDR) (p = 0.05)  
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Despite regular criticisms for marginal offside calls, lengthy delays while leaving fans in grounds in the dark, 48% of correspondents think that VAR is a good idea and remain in favour of keeping the technology from Stockley Park, but concede that it needs to be improved.

The Premier League has this summer shown that they are willing to learn how to improve the system and be more lenient following the drawn out analysis of offside lines, and that is reflected in 32% of responses suggesting that VAR has been used too often in the UK when compared to tournaments such as the Champions League or Euro 2020.

However crucially for the Premier League and the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Board) who implement the rules in England, a substantial 33% feel that VAR has a negative impact on fan experience at games.

Does VAR Impact Watching Football at Stadiums?

VAR seems to be part of a growing trend of neglecting match-going, money-paying fans who spend their days supporting their teams and instead offer a greater experience to those people who sit at home and watch everything through their TV.

The concern with football fans is that if people are encouraged to stay at home and watch games due to the better camera angles, VAR replays and communication with officials, then there will be no appetite to attend matches anymore and the atmosphere at grounds will die out.

However 37% of respondents admitted that VAR should remain to be used in every Premier League game in its current form.

Meanwhile the pandemic doesn’t appear to have affected the enthusiasm of fans to attend matches, despite the threat of illness with 47% of fans saying they will be watching football live at stadia this season as their preferred method of following their sides - an increase from pre-pandemic figures.

However the viewing habits of some football fans have changed, with people less likely to watch live on TV at home by themselves now than before, with 68% of respondents now preferring to watch the Premier League that way compared to 81% in early 2020.

Notably, the saturation of live football in the last 18 months appears to have put some people off the game altogether with more than five times as many people admitting they won’t be watching any games compared to before.

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