Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has become one of the more contentious topics of discussion for soccer fans. While it was introduced to help limit controversy, it has, instead, practically fueled debates regarding refereeing decisions. Now, a survey led by fans in England shows that VAR is currently as unpopular as ever.

The BBC published a survey claiming 63.3% of soccer fans in England oppose VAR. Along with the overwhelming disapproval of the technology, 79% of match-going fans said that the experience of VAR was poor or very poor. This most likely comes down to confusion inside stadiums during VAR checks.

Many soccer fans have claimed that the passion and atmosphere inside arenas faltered since VAR’s introduction. These supporters essentially claim that their excitement for goals is then taken away during these checks by officials. Nevertheless, it is most important to get these major refereeing decisions correct. No fan likes when a decision goes against their team.

Quicker VAR decisions are needed in Premier League

It seems as if VAR in England would be more popular if these decisions didn’t take so long to make. This sentiment is echoed in the aforementioned survey. 92% of people in the survey stated that these VAR decisions currently take too long. Quicker calls would certainly ease concerns over killing atmospheres inside stadiums.

However, the Premier League has recently voted against integrating semi-automatic offside technology. This technology, currently used in UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League, helps make offside calls significantly faster. Along with the speed of the decision, this technology is more precise as well.

Survey shows change in English perception of VAR

The survey vastly contrasts another comparable study compiled in 2017. In this past survey, nearly 75% of English soccer fans approved of the use of VAR in their country. This massive difference in the two studies was most likely affected by a series of blunders by Premier League officials throughout the 2022/23 season.

The more recent survey was conducted in March and April of this year. BBC claims that nearly 10,000 fans participated in the review.