Football was always going to take some convincing about the merits of the Video Assistant Referee, and now that VAR is a reality in Russia, fans and commentators have been casting their views on the new technology. We’ll put Alan Shearer down as a ‘maybe’…
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) June 25, 2018
Here’s our take on the reaction of fans to VAR in the first ten days of the World Cup. If you thought everybody would hate it, you’re right, sort-of; 70 per cent of fan reaction so far has been negative. But some fans find the drama of a VAR decision exciting, others feel that having a rant against a machine is not much different from the good old days of ref-bashing.
The results of our first study are for all group matches up to 25 June. It will be interesting to see if there are further signs of acceptance of VAR over the course of the tournament. If the knock-out stages throw up a critical VAR decision, we’d expect to see a spike in reactions, but by using a large sample group across all matches we should be able to identify the underlying trend in the feelings of supporters.
The Reaction of Fans
Charts based on sample of 115k football fans active on Twitter during #WorldCup2018. All fan posts are in English language and mention VAR or use the hashtag #VAR. Retweets are excluded.
Click on the Full Screen icon in the top-right corner of the infographic.