Slow-motion makes everything handball

Napoli’s Fabián Ruiz didn’t even blink when this alleged handball happened. He didn’t even look at the referee. He didn’t protest. He didn’t point at Alex Sandro and gesticulate wildly like we always see players do.

There is no way this was handball. Handball has to be deliberate, and there is no way you can see this as deliberate.

Problem is, watching the replay in slow-motion makes everything look like handball, and handball Napoli got.

This same situation, of course, happened at the World Cup final in 2018.

VAR worked very well at the World Cup. Players were incredibly well behaved because, surprisingly, when you point 33 cameras at the pitch, people somehow realize that they cannot get away with the usual sneaky misdeeds they always try to get away with.

Correcting referee errors with VAR has also been very useful, because it is clear that human beings are not going to see everything on the pitch, and they are going to make mistakes. The sense of fairness is a good thing.

However, slow-motion replays are making all handball incidents look deliberate. Before VAR, body position, deflections, distance, ball flight, etc. were all indicators of intent. Now, with VAR, it’s going to look like everything is deliberate. This needs to be rectified very soon.