Are VAR errors a good reason to replay a football match? Fans say no
March 8th, 2024, Christien Pheby

Are VAR errors a good reason to replay a football match? Fans say no

In January of this year, a Belgian Pro League match was fully replayed due to a VAR error constituting “misapplication of the laws of the game.” It was the first decision of its kind, but British football fans don’t think it should set a precedent.

Just a quarter (27%) think VAR errors related to penalty decisions (like the one that forced the Genk vs. Anderlecht replay) are a good enough reason for a do-over, but three in five (61%) do not. Fans are similarly disposed towards faulty red card decisions: 23% think they are grounds for a replay; 65% do not.

Fans are a little more likely to say that a VAR error related to a goal decision is a good reason to re-stage the match but most are still against it (34% vs. 55%).

The time of the VAR error doesn’t have a particularly large impact on these attitudes. Fans are opposed to replays in the early stages of the first half of a football match (27% saying the match should be replayed if the error has taken place at this stage; 62% saying it should not) and the latter (23% vs. 63%); same goes for the early (27% vs. 61%) and latter stages of the second half (28% vs. 57%).

Goal margin is a more significant variable. Just 13% of fans think a match with a 5-1, 4-0, or comparable gap between the two sides should be replayed in the event of a VAR error; 76% say it should not. This rises to 34% when it comes to matches with a tighter scoreline, while opposition falls to 53%.

Nevertheless, the overall picture is clear: most football fans don’t want to see matches replayed in the event of a VAR error – whatever and whenever the error may be, and regardless of how it has impacted the game.

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 26-27 February 2024, with a [nationally/online] representative sample of 2,112 adults (816 of whom said they were very/fairly interested in football)  (aged 18+ years) in Great Britain, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and social grade to be representative of all adults in Great Britain  (18 years or older), and reflect the latest ONS  population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.