The 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup saw the controversial introduction of VAR in the global stage, meanwhile little research has examined supporters’ reactions to it. To understand how fans experienced VAR we employed a digital sociological approach by focusing on one loosely defined online community. We scraped over 300,000 comments from 31 videos on YouTube that were subsequently critically analysed. Three main categories emerged: Global North vs Global South; Non-Neutrality of Technology; VAR is Killing the Beautiful Game. In this paper our analysis focus on the first category to argue that VAR was experienced by supporters as neo-colonial technological tool. Fans recognised VAR as: favouring loosely defined Global North sides; and improving Global North sides’ chances of winning. Our nuanced analysis of technologization of sport shows how it was both experienced by supporters as a power implementing artefact, but also provide a place for loosely defined antisystemic movements to emerge.
KEYWORDS: YouTube; VAR; Football; FIFA; fans