Oh dear, now it’s VAR with ads on

We now have video assistant referees in big football games and, inevitably perhaps, now the ever-rapacious football authorities are planning to run ads – or maybe just branding – on them as we wait for the VAR to decide.

Apparently there were 27 minutes of these in the last World Cup.

The once beautiful game is in rude health – Liverpool’s epic victory in last night’s Champion’s League semi-final against Barcelona being a case in point (although did the Anfield crowd need to boo Barcelona for the entire second half?) – but the endless quest to exploit its popularity is somewhat unsavoury.

It probably won’t stop at football either. Rugby Union now has a so-called fourth official who reviews when a try has been scored, even, increasingly, when someone strolls in under the posts with not a defender in sight. Just in case someone blew their nose in an earlier play. Test cricket has appeals too.

It’s becoming rather reminiscent of American football, which is rather more stop than start. Maybe it’s Trumpanomics.

PS
I see that Paddy Power’s tasteless Rhodri Giggs ad has been banned by the UK’s ASA. Not that Paddy will mind now. Can we expect to see the likes of PP and Betfair in the VAR breaks? While viewers have to hang on for the decision while the ad finishes. Oh woe.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.