Two-thirds of fans say football is less enjoyable with VAR

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5th February 2020 13:34 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

Two-thirds of fans say football is less enjoyable with VAR:  A YouGov survey asking football fans about their thoughts regarding Video Assistant Referees (VAR) has revealed that 67% believe the technology has made watching Premier League football less enjoyable. 

The survey questioned 1,396 fans who regularly watch Premier League games about the system, which was brought in at the start of the 2019/20 season.

Almost a fifth (19%) said that VAR had made no difference to their enjoyment of the game, while 12% said it had improved their enjoyment. 

Six in ten of the fans polled (60%) said they thought VAR  worked 'fairly or 'very badly', however, almost three-quarters (74%) said they would like to see the system continued, but want to see it modified.

Encouragingly, just 15% said they would like to see the technology scrapped altogether. 

The survey found that the fans who were the most unhappy with VAR were in the North West, with 35% saying the system worked 'very badly', followed by fans in Yorkshire (34%) and the West Midlands (32%). Fans were less concerned about VAR in London (18%) and Scotland (17%), according to the poll. 

When asked about possible future changes to VAR, 82% said they would 'strongly support' or 'tend to support' on-field referees consulting pitch-side screens, while 72% said they would support a time limit on VAR decisions. Almost three-quarters (73%) said they would support being able to hear the conversation between referees and VAR at Premier League games.

Lead data researcher Matt Smith said: “Almost every manager's post-match interview featuring grumbles about [VAR] decisions.

"Despite much social media hysteria, our research shows that a large majority of those watching the games actually want to see it reformed over a complete removal."

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