Football’s VAR vs Cricket’s DRS: Comparison Explained

Technology is becoming an integral part of modern-day sports. There has always been a margin of human error among the umpires and referees in every game. Hence, the results or decisions made during the game can get severely affected by the wrong observations. This is where technology comes into play.

The most common use of reviewing systems is in cricket and football. Let’s study the comparison between the decision-making techniques used in the most popular sport of Cricket and Football.

VAR: Video Assistant Referee

Video Assistant Referee, commonly known as VAR is used in football. There is a team of three referees who review and analyze the decision made by the main referee. The team consists of the main video referee, his assistant, and a replay operator. This technology is used to observe and review four types of decisions: goals and the violations that occur due to them, penalties, red cards, and mistaken identity when awarding any card.

It is either the main referee’s call for review or the video referee advises him to look into any matter of interest or fault in the game.

DRS: Decision Review System

DRS has been an important part of cricket in the past decade or so. It is a technology-based system to assist the umpires with their active decision-making capabilities. It was first introduced in July 2008 in India’s Test Series in Sri Lanka. It was officially launched in November 2009 in the first Test between Pakistan and New Zealand. 

DRS is equipped with the latest ball-tracking technology along with Ultra-edge or Real-time snicko and hotspot. It is used in the case of LBW and caught behind the wicket. 

Understanding the process for Leg before a wicket is quite complicated and should be well-understood and should be unbiased. Umpire’s call is also a concept used when the review system allows the on-field umpire to stand with his decision. The review is retained by the team even if the result is the opposite.

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Any team is given 15 seconds to take a review or the decision of the on-field umpire is taken as the final verdict.

Comparison: DRS vs VAR

In football, the game is strictly under scrutiny by the VAR match officials and it also gives the benefit of catching off-the-ball issues which can redirect the course of the entire game.

VAR takes up a lot of time in the game and ends up disturbing the flow of the match. Delaying the flag in some games can be irritating. The practice of VAR for even a simple off-side is ridiculously time-consuming. There is no genuine concern over the integrity of the decision as we have no clue that either the umpire made a good or biased one.

Relatively, in Cricket there are either two to three reviews per team which allows them to focus only on what is important. The conversation between umpires is transparent and nothing is kept confidential, hence there is no question mark over the integrity of the decision. 

The teams are given only 15 seconds to decide whether they are going to take a review or not, which keeps the game moving and going with the flow. Also, the pace at which everything is done nowadays in Review systems during a cricket match is extraordinary. Big franchise leagues like PSL, IPL, BBL, etc have evolved the way DRS was first used.


We can safely say that DRS is way better than VAR usage in football. The technology used in Football has its limitations and the integrity of the whole thing is compromised when one bad decision is made. VAR has a lot to learn from DRS of cricket and has to evolve to fit into today’s world of sports.

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