The number of penalties awarded has increased by 63% since the introduction of VAR in Serie A, according to a report.
Calciomercato.com write that an average of 13.5 penalties were given in the opening five games of the previous four Serie A campaigns. However, this has shot up to 22 this season after the introduction of VAR in the league.
Perhaps this is a result of referees being more bold when making decisions, knowing they can review and change their decision if it turns out to be incorrect. It’s also almost certainly because incidents they would have missed in previous seasons are being picked up by the TV cameras and reviewed on the spot.
The only real issue with VAR in the league right now is the time it takes to come to a decision. Obviously, reviewing a decision on a monitor takes longer than just making it in real-time and sticking with it.
However, we’ll need to see more to know how much impact this will have, as decisions are likely to speed up as referees get used to the system.
There are also plenty of cases where a confrontation and argument could be avoided with a review. Not to mention when a player is down injured (for example Ederson after Sadio Mané’s high foot), the time is wasted either way, and may as well be used to review the incident.
For me, the implementation of VAR is the obvious next step for Premier League football to move forward. But I can see why some are hesitant. Fortunately, we have Serie A testing the system to its limits on our behalf.