July 15, 2021
(Reuters) – The use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) upsets many soccer fans worldwide, but its role at the European Championship was far less controversial than during the 2020-21 English Premier League season, William Hill said in a report on Thursday.
The bookmaker generated a controversy rating for each of the 18 decisions overturned by VAR during the Euros with reactionary metrics such as tweet volume, text sentiment analysis and articles generated on the incidents.
The pan-European tournament produced an average controversy rating of 4.40, making it 14.39% less controversial than the Premier League.
Five of those 18 overturned decisions led to goals, six led to the awarding of penalties, three goals were allowed while six were disallowed for offside.
There was also one goal ruled out for handball and two red cards as a result of the use of VAR.
Mario Gavranovic’s potential winner in a 1-1 group-stage draw with Wales was rated as the most controversial call of the tournament, with Swiss forward correctly adjudged to have been marginally offside.
Karim Benzema’s strike chalked off in France’s 1-0 win over Germany and Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt’s card upgrade to red for a deliberate handball in their last-16 defeat by the Czech Republic also sparked outrage on social media.
But all the major decisions in the tournament were proven to be technically correct.
The report also said the VAR team based at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon for the Euros were not only efficient with its decision-making process but also avoided lengthy interruptions during the four-week tournament.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Macfie)