It kills me that it was so successful during the 2018 world cup and they have decided against following that way of using it.The sad thing is that VAR is working precisely as it is designed to, which is not how we would want it to.
It is a validation tool. We all want it to be an invalidation tool. We want it to overturn bad decisions, but that's not how it's being implemented. That's how it should be implemented, but it isn't currently.
VAR is not there to make sure a call is correct. It is there to correct 'clear and obvious errors' by the ref. It is there to ensure that a referee has interpreted the laws of the game correctly. The problem with that is that what constitutes a 'clear and obvious' error is itself an interpretation and subject to interpretation.
Let's take a recent example. Under the rules of the game as they are currently laid down, Dele's handball in the box on Sunday should have been a penalty. The law states that any contact with the ball by a hand, even accidental, is a penalty - see the penalty given against us in the CL Final last season.
The VAR replay wasn't done in order to check whether Dele's hand had made contact with the ball. It was to check whether the referee made a 'clear and obvious error' in not awarding the penalty. When VAR review, the referee is asked to explain his decision to them. They then consider that before making their own call. So, say, for instance, Atkinson told VAR that he didn't see Dele's hand make contact with the ball, then even if VAR shows that it did, his decision to not award the penalty would not be deemed as a 'clear and obvious error' and so his decision would be validated.
So, the reason it wasn't given was that Atkinson interpreted the law in his head and decided it wasn't a penalty. VAR then checked his interpretation against the video replay. They did not check the video replay and make a decision in isolation. They were looking to see if Atkinson had made a 'clear and obvious error'. VAR decided that Atkinson had not made a clear and obvious error in denying the penalty and therefore didn't overturn his decision.
That's the prism that VAR has to be viewed through - not that it is there to ensure every call is correct. It should be used like that, but it isn't being used like that. VAR is not there to help the game, the players and most especially not the fans - it is there to be used by referees and only for their benefit. Until that changes, we will continue to see the same controversies, the same ridiculous calls, etc, etc.
One of the problems with officiating is that it is entirely opaque - there is no accountability, there is no transparency. Why else do they hide what is said from the fans during VAR checks? This is just another example of the mendacity at the heart of football officiating - referees are held up as final arbiters, treated as untouchables who can do as they please and are indemnified from being criticised. Fine, if they could demonstrate that they made decisions well enough consistently enough to be considered experts. But they're not - they're terrible, they make horrendous mistakes and then they are protected from any official criticism. Anyone who speaks out is punished.
And that makes VAR in its current implementation inherently suspect and therefore expecting it to be a balance to the paucity of quality in refereeing is pointless - it's not there to make things better; it is there to help insulate referees from being scrutinised.
VAR should be a system by which a correct decision should be given, but that's not how it's being used currently. Expecting anything else is pointless.