VAR and Vlad

Real action and keeping things fair

Written by

Tom Gribbin

Published on

17 Aug 2021

Video Assisted Referee? That’s not what our V.A.R. stands for. It’s Vlad Applies the Rules.

Meet Vlad Panov, aka Coach Vlad. He’s the man behind the scenes who runs our VAR system, overseeing the checking of every photo that comes in of climate action by the fans. Because, yes, we do get some cheating, especially during a head-to-head fixture when the fans of rival clubs are doing their best to win. But Vlad’s eagle eye and this team of East European bloodhounds sniff out most of the cheating.

He’s a true multinational. Grew up in Sofia, Washington DC and Budapest. Speaks five or six languages. And plays football, tennis, badminton and ping pong pretty well. True to his roots, he’s a Slavia Sofia fan.

But why is VAR important for us? We think that taking real action is important. It’s one thing to say you’ll do something for the planet, but it’s another thing actually to do it. Uploading a photo gives you a chance to prove you’ve really done your bit. But when the competition gets tough and a fixture is on a knife edge, we’ve seen that some people are … so keen to win for their club … that they bend the rules. Upload silly photos which are nothing to do with what it’s supposed to be.

Well, we clamped down on that. The goal gets disallowed. Repeat offenders: yellow card. And if it goes on, then red card and all that player’s goals are cancelled. We want to make sure it’s as fair as possible for everyone taking part.