Should VEX implement a VAR system

Given the 2018-2019 system will be a bo1 system for elimination, I strongly believe a VAR (Video Assisted Refereeing) system would be beneficial to teams competiting. Take the world cup as an example, there were times where the Ref was unable to draw a conclusion without the assistance of VAR. The same applies to VEX, there are times where it will be extremely difficult to judge.

  1. Easier to settle disputes between teams
    If 2 alliances ends up in an argument about rule infractions, using official video footage, a decision could be made and teams would not argue further given there would be video footage used as evidence.

  2. Determine whether an infraction would be considered as match affecting.
    The term match affecting is easy to understand, but in reality it is very hard to determine whether an action would be considered match affecting. Such as pinning or trapping beyond the time allowed or recklessly driving around and destroying an intake mechanism, resulting in a team not able to score. These are just a few examples that occured from my experience, I am sure there are more examples where a VAR system would beneficial.

  3. The BO1 elimination system
    This pretty much sums up why VAR should be implemented. BO1 is just too inconsistent, and there are times where a reviewing video footage would be easier to draw conclusions and make sure no teams were eliminated in an unfair fashion

Edit: TO1 would still be in force, referees would only be allowed to review official footage. Players would not be able to provide their own recordings as video evidence

I’ve been thinking the same these few past days.
I know FIRST has introduced it as well. What I was thinking was if there are “official cameras” available for example let’s say the event is being streamed that could be used as a review platform.
But I still think <T01> a. “The referees will not review any photo or video Match recordings” needs to be used. For the fact that as a referee I have had competitors try to shove a recording in my face.

How much more would you pay per tournament to have this system enabled? I think most Event Partners would have to rent the appropriate equipment. You would also need someone that knows how to run if it’s going to be used in an official capacity.

Avoiding this is the point of <T01>a. Referees probably won’t want tiny phone screens shoved in their faces by students, not to mention the likelihood of poor camerawork and poor quality that would render many student recordings unusable as a basis for decisions. Also, this would take way too long given the tight scheduling of VEX tournaments.

Official event recordings may be workable given a competent equipment operator and decent setup, but too many people simply don’t already have access to and can’t afford such things for official event recordings to be made mandatory.

I would, however, like to see a rule change that allows, at the discretion of the head referee, the usage of official event recordings to aid in refereeing during elimination matches.

  • At no point would the usage of recordings be mandatory.
  • At no point would a referee even look at student/parent/etc. recordings.
  • The usage of recordings would not be permitted in qualification matches, lest the event fall far behind schedule.

That is a good point.

Another thing to consider is that if the video is created by students and there is only one angle provided, it may not give the entire picture. The original post talked about video assistance in professional sports. It’s worth pointing out that video assistance in professional sports has cameras at many different angles and views. And while it may not sound like that’s a big deal, one event may look very different from one angle than another.

Considering that we’re about to transition into a system with V5 vision sensors, you can gain extra point of views from the robots with the extended view of a crowd and/or an extra camera that’s livestreaming maybe. Even though the V5 vision sensor isn’t high quality it’s kind of the same reason to have a security camera in stores, if possible to have it be able to record the last 5-10 minutes while the robot is on.

@[TVA]Connor But some teams are using Cortex for this year and next year because of team budgets etc. and even if V5 is used, some won’t use vision sensors still and so it could mean that it is only evidence from 1 robot (point of view) which still defeats the point of having more points of view. And as @Barin said,

is very important. It will take lots of time trying to review the footage. And as you mentioned World Cup, they have tons of people working at the same time unlike VEX. In small competitions, it could take more than 5 minutes per match and if there is an error in the recording etc. it would also be problematic…

Just don’t think its ideal for VEX.

The events ive attended field at least 2 fields for official competition, if a situation does occur than the schedule wouldnt be delayed for too long.

Most of the judging can be done just off the spot, but occasionally there would be times where having official footage would be beneficial and could speed up the time to draw a conclusion.

It is very rare for an error to occur in a recording unless a power outage or something very unlikely happens. An ideal angle would recorded from an elevated position so it would show what is happening compared to footage from one angle that would seem bias.

I would like to see the VAR system be used for the reasons described above, and agree the the footage that only official competition footage should be reviewed. However, I think that this system should be reserved for larger tournaments that have the money and resources to cover this type of system. (US Open and Worlds I’m looking at you, especially since you already have camera equipment for all the fields :)) My hope is that if these larger tournaments use a VAR system, they should not increase the registration costs by too much (if anything at all) since many of them already have been using the cameras in the past. Maybe someone with a better background or past experience with the camera equipment at tournaments like the US Open and Worlds could share their thoughts on this?

As mentioned above, this could work well where the support exists to make it happen… but may well come at extra expense.

But have a bit of empathy for the hosts of your local 30 team tournament where you’ve got a small team of volunteers giving up a big chunk of their weekend so a bunch of kids can play robot.

Quite frankly, if the volunteers aren’t having fun then they aren’t coming back. They all try to make the right call every time, and they understand that not everyone is going to agree with them every time. But there is a good life lesson in being able to say, “Well, I disagreed with the refs call, but my opinion is irrelevant. One day I’ll be the ref and I’ll be perfect.”

Whining, complaining, and trying to get video replays is not going to make the volunteers happy, nor make the tournament run more smoothly. Teams are allowed to ask for a clarification or explanation, and to politely make a point… but once that is done, thank the ref and move on. The history of sports is the history of missed calls… and if you think you’ve been ‘wronged’, then you can take solace in classic examples such as Diego Maradonna’s “Hand of God”. (It only took FIFA a few years after that to get VAR for the World Cup…)

If you really want to be remembered… and you see that your team has advanced due to a bad call… let the ref know. It’s one thing to have the team that got DQ’ed complain, but to have the their opponents step forward and say, “While we’d very much like to advance, we believe our opponents actions were legal for the following reasons.” The call likely won’t change, but at least you’ll advance with a clear conscience and have gained the respect of the entire tournament for your honesty.

I’m not sure about the US Open, but Worlds definitely isn’t already equipped for VAR outside of Freedom Hall. To clarify, technically, each division could use VAR with the current AV setup, but it would be far too cludgy and time-consuming. The cameras are the least of the problems; reasonable VAR implementation would require expensive, specialized video processing equipment and at least one additional AV tech per division. Costs would increase dramatically.

[VAR in amateur sports](

But what about small events like ours in Thailand where we only have 1 field for events and 1 for practice?

And also another random thought. Won’t the connection from the camera to the computer interfere with the robot’s connection to the remote controller?

Maybe there might be a day where we have find pay for more support like volunteers as there won’t be enough volunteers to do the VAR?


They wouldn’t interfere. If it were to cause interference, there would probably be no usable video.

To answer the original question: No.


I don’t even think Worlds is properly equipped to handle all the technical and resource based challenges for implementing VAR.

There’s no way for a volunteer-centered program, where some areas are fortunate to be able to have enough equipment for 1 competition field, to have a fair and equitable VAR system.

If you want a group of people to review footage for rulings, you’re gonna have to invest quite a lot in the system. Not only that, but also for the ref to decide and be the point person is asking a lot for a volunteer.

I know for me, I’d start charging to ref if that were the case.

Consider this. NCAA volleyball rules just allowed VAR in the last rule change. Nearly no schools can implement VAR well enough to use it even though they’re only doing one court at a time. Only a bunch of schools at the top have the budgets and manpower to manage it properly.

Would you be okay if it was used only at worlds