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VAR in SHAMBLES after long delays and a Missed Call that makes one wonder if the Fix is in.

June 30, 2019

 

Video Assisted Review (VAR) has been used to help officials make the correct call at the 2019 Women’s World Cup as it has in other competitions. But the question on everyone’s mind is, ‘have the correct calls actually been made?’

 

Players, fans, and coaches have complained for years that quite often, the referee is inconsistent in making a call. The game is quick and things happen in split seconds and even with the best intentions, a referee can and will make errors. It’s human. Often, it’s not because it’s actually an error on his part but because something happened quickly and from his vantage point, he makes the call based on what he or she sees. For example, from one angle, the ball may have appeared not to cross the line when in fact from another angle it may appear that it has. The officials will make the call from the angle that they see things from.

 

Goals and off-sides are all subject to what the officials see from their vantage point. Hand balls on the other hand are a bit different. First of all there is the rule interpretation which I’m not even so sure of anymore but secondly, it’s one of the hardest things to actually spot. If you have ever been on a field refereeing a game, you will probably agree that spotting a hand ball is actually not as easy as it seems when watching from a high camera angle on TV. First of all, it happens so fast. Secondly, the referee’s view can be blocked by another player or even by the player handling the ball. Finally, whether it’s a hand ball or not, if it’s a close call, half the players close to you will shout that it’s a hand ball and half will shout that it’s not, based in which team can benefit. Try being the one that has to make that call under those conditions. And when it’s in the box, the pressure is really on.

 

I haven’t refereed very much but when I have, it’s one of the most dreaded calls to make and I always pray that nothing happens when the ball is in the box.

 

So now, we step ahead to current times where we have videos of the game from many different areas of the field with an army of referees watching TV monitors in a booth or studio. In my opinion, if the referee gets the calls correct over 95% of the time watching it in real time only once on the pitch, then the army of officials watching it in a studio should take no more than 20 seconds to watch it and also make a correct decision. They can each see it at least twice in slow motion in that length of time. The fact that they take 2 to 5 minutes to make a decision is ridiculous. In my opinion, there should be a 20 to 30 second limit. If it’s not conclusive in 20 seconds then the call on the field should stand. FINAL. If it is revealed later that it was in fact an error by the smallest of margins, then it was so close to call that we have to allow human error. It’s part of the game.

 

Players make errors all game long,

why can’t referees?

 

Players make errors all game long. They make bad passes, or miss the net

when they should score. If players can make errors than why can’t referees? 20 to 30 seconds of having 3 referees watching video review is enough time. Are we taking the game away from the field a bit too much with VAR? It’s becoming annoying. I was at a TFC game last week and half way out the stadium after the final whistle blew, when 5 minutes later, a penalty shot was awarded.

 

I’ve seen cases where a play had not been originally called offside by two of the three officials on the field and then it’s discovered, after a 5 minute review that the play was off-side by a toenail. In my opinion, if it takes more than 20 seconds to decide a call, then maybe the defenders or keeper also made a mistake in how they played that sequence of events.

 

If you can’t tell that it’s a foul or hand ball in 20 seconds in slow motion then maybe it really shouldn’t be called because part of that foul may have included some play acting or unfortunate unintentional slip or fall or whatever. Let the play on the field stand. The same would apply if a penalty is called and then within 20 seconds, it’s indentified that it shouldn’t have. In that case change the call, otherwise, let the call on the field stand.

 

That’s my rant and opinion on VAR. Now to another related point, and it’s regarding the USA Women’s National Team and the apparent breaks that they have been receiving from VAR. They have won some games due to some dubious calls that took the VAR experts more than 2 to minutes to decide. They have been the beneficiaries of most of those calls, especially when it counted most. And for the strangest reason of all, when a ball clearly hit the hand of a US player in the box in their game against France, VAR was not used.

 

Is something fishy going on here?

 

In every other case all tournament long, the play was called back for a Video Review. In this case it was quickly ignored. What surprised me was that the 

opposition did not complain nearly as much as I’ve seen other teams complain. The announcers calling the game quickly seemed to ignore this missed VAR call. It was mentioned briefly but quickly forgotten which leads me to believe that there is something fishy going on here.

 

Is it possible that FIFA’s main revenue source for the Women’s World Cup is coming from American TV, namely FOX Sports? If so, they need the USA in the Finals. At that point it would not matter if they win or lose, but they have to be there to get TV ratings and possibly a pay- off for Fox and FIFA. I can’t say for sure and my stats may even be totally off, but it has to cross your mind when such an obvious handball that would have been called against any other team does not. Hate to put a black mark on soccer, but one has to wonder. Just saying!

 

Enjoy USA in the Finals! If they don’t get there then maybe I’m off. Time will tell.

 

 

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