By Thomas Flewker-Barker
We can accept a degree of error and imperfection with refereeing decisions – for they are only human.
For many years we have stood by the principle of giving the benefit of the doubt to the attacking side, with the human eye only able to track players running so fast.
However, this is now eliminated with the presence of video reviews.
Offside calls have to be perfect, and although human error is still present in VAR, the technology itself is far from accurate.
The fastest players in the Premier League are often clocked at speeds up to 35 kilometres per hour / 21.7 miles per hour, which equates to 9.7 metres per second / 31.8 feet per second.
The Premier League is pretty secretive about its centralised setup at Stockley Park.
But assuming they are going off the Premier League Productions ultra HD feed, they are only clocking in at 50 frames per second.
This means the likes of Raheem Sterling or Sadio Mane could be moving as much as 19.4cm / 7.6 inches between frames. So why are we pretending that VAR can judge offsides to the millimetre?
To truly judge offsides to the millimetre, frame by frame, with a player moving at 35 kilometres per hour, you would need an ultra slow motion camera.
That’s 10,000 frames per second.
While those cameras do exist, there’s no way that the Premier League is recording at that frame rate constantly and transferring it live to a central location.
Therefore, when Sheffield United had their goal disallowed against Tottenham the call made by VAR was potentially inaccurate.
When cameras are only recording footage at 50 frames per second, how can we know the exact moment the ball leaves the foot of the player, and how can we know the exact location of the player receiving the ball?
VAR seems to be here to stay, so we need a solution which will remove ambiguity and give on-field officials more authority.
Introducing a 20 centimetre rule with offside calls may be the way forward.
This includes VAR drawing a 10 centimetre line either side of the last defender and if the attacking player receiving the ball is within those 20 centimetres, the on-field decision would not be overturned.
This would also ensure that any glaring errors which are made by officials are corrected and would hand the benefit of the doubt to the linesman in tight scenarios.
Ultimately, the likelihood of the Premier League introducing such a rule is slim to none.
VAR appears to be sucking the joy out of football, and unfortunately, until the Premier League address the issues of VAR, fans will remain frustrated with a flawed system.