The use of technology has been proposed to improve decision-making in sport officials. The implementation of the video Assistant Referee (VAR) in association football is one example of how technology can be used to assist decision making, although its impact remains unknown. In 2195 competitive football matches across 13 countries, the VAR conducted 9732 checks for potential match-changing incidents, with the median duration of a check being 22 seconds. The checks resulted in a total of 795 reviews, with a median duration of 62.0 s for on-field reviews ( = 534) and 15.0 s for VAR-only reviews ( = 261).We report that the predictive odds for making the correct decision after VAR intervention were significantly higher than for the initial referee’s decision, with accuracy increasing from 92.1% to 98.3%. Findings have implications for the current debate about the introduction of technology in association football and may help set guidelines regarding the use of technology across other sports and professional domains.