The research for the following post was featured on the Mirror Online and in print in The People. 

BRITS have given their backing to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology which has been introduced to the World Cup for the first time.

The system sees referees monitor four situations during a match – goals, penalty decisions, red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

The technology was trialled in England during the FA Cup tournament where it proved controversial.

But 75% of Brits planning to watch the competition said VAR would improve the World Cup – with just 16% saying it would ruin the tournament.

Support for VAR is highest among fans aged 35-44 at 65% and lowest among 45-54-year-olds, with just half backing the new technology.

Most football fans (71%) also welcomed the new rule in which players can be sanctioned retrospectively, with just 11% saying it was a bad idea.

The survey of 2,003 people by Atomik Research showed three in five (60%) of Brits will be glued to the tournament with World Cup fever highest among Millennials with 83% of 25-34-year-olds planning to watch.

World Cup 2018: The public opinionThe favourite place for Brits to watch World Cup matches is on their own at home, with 35% saying they would rather watch the action from the comfort of their own sofa.

Twenty-two per cent say they enjoy watching with their family or friends at home, with 17% preferring a pub or bar and 16% opting for a fan zone.

Among those watching, 58% plan to watch every single game and just over half (51%) think England could make it to the quarter finals, 15% think Gareth Southgate’s men will make it to the semis and a very optimistic 10% say they’ll be in the final.

However, 17% say the Three Lions won’t be able to climb out of the group stages.

Just over half (54%) say Gareth Southgate’s job will be safe even if England flop but 41% say he could get the boot.

There is less enthusiasm for the tournament in Wales and Scotland after their teams failed to qualify, according to the survey.

Fifty-four per cent of adults in Scotland and 44% in Wales will follow the action.

And nearly a quarter (24%) of Scots planning to watch say they will be supporting anyone but England, with the most popular choices being Spain, Brazil, Germany and Iceland.

Just over half of Brits are worried about the tournament being held in Russia, with nearly three quarters (73%) worried about hooliganism, 56% fearing racism, 44% concerned about homophobia and 39% match fixing.

World Cup 2018: The public opinion


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