When FIFA came up with the spray idea for free kicks, I was amazed at how simple ideas are often the best. It’s far from the truth for the utilisation of the video at Confederations Cup. It created confusion, disbelief, anger and frustration.
The Confederations Cup is a big rehearsal before the World Cup. It was the first time the video was used, and……what a mess!
Portugal and Chile both had goals disallowed for offside. Portugal had to wait for what seemed an unnecessary review of a good goal scored.
Chile’s star player Arturo Vidal fiercely argued with referee Damir Skomina when a goal scored in first-half stoppage time by Eduardo Vargas was overruled almost one minute later. FIFA later released still images of a razor-thin margin of the offside ruling.
It took at least 30 seconds for Vargas’s goal in second-half stoppage time to be confirmed after Alexis Sanchez was judged not to have been in an offside position earlier in the move.
Against Mexico, Portugal had to wait to find out that the score would stay at 0-0 in the first half when Nani’s shot was overruled for an offside call that went unflagged in an earlier phase of play.
More confusion was caused when Argentine referee Nestor Pitana called a review for unclear reasons after defender Cedric Soares’s deflected shot in the 86th gave Portugal a 2-1 lead.
Technology is not to blame here, but how it is used. First of all, no one knows when the video is to be used. No clear signal, no way for fans to know that there is a situation that requires the help of replays. Instead, referees are running like headless chickens and it’s left to fans and viewers to figure out what is happening.
The cherry on the cake was when after viewing the images, the referee red carded Cameroon player Siani instead of Mabouka. Cameroon players then persuaded him to review the footage again, after which Roldan sent off Mabouka. Surreal!
So why cannot FIFA adopt a very simple route for VAR (Video Assistant Referee)? Why not issuing a PR statement explaining how and in what circumstances VAR will be used?
My 2 cents:
– Only 5 options per team to use VAR during the game
– Only the head coach can asked for VAR
– A clear signal from stadium speakers that VAR will be used
– 60 seconds to view and come up with the decision (those 60 secs will be added to extra times)
That will be a start. I cannot be worse than what we’ve experienced so far. Keep it simple is the way to go!