TOKYO: A storm broke over the use of a video replay at the Club World Cup in Japan after it was consulted on the award of a penalty in the semi-final between Japan’s Kashima Antlers and Atletico Nacional of Colombia writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

A spot-kick converted by Shoma Doi put Kashima 1-0 ahead in the 33rd-minute against the Colombian South American champions in Osaka. But any hopes that video assistance would quell complaints were swiftly erased.

Viktor Kassai . . . history man from Hungary

Kashima defender Daigo Nishi had been fouled inside the box by Atletico forward Orlando Berrio, chasing an angled free kick from the left.

As the free kick was taken Kashima midfielder Atsutaka Nakamura was standing in the penalty box in an offside position though not appearing to interfere with play.

After Nishi tumbled to the ground, play continued but when the ball went out of play the pitchside assistant called Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai to the touchline to consult the video replay. He then ruled that Berrio had tripped Nishi and pointed to the penalty spot.


A delay of around two minutes was needed, exacerbated by time taken over complaints from the Colombian club’s players. Eventually the penalty was finally confirmed and converted and Kashima went on to win 3-0 and reach the final against Mexico’s America or Real Madrid.

Yasuski Endo (83 minutes) and Yuma Suzuki (85) scored the other Kashima goals.

The Twitter feed of the International Football Association Board, as retweeted by FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura, proudly proclaimed that “for the first time in a FIFA competition, video replay technologoy has helped the referee with the awarding of a penalty.”

This only provoked a social media storm of complaint that neither Kassai, his assistant nor the video assistant referee had deemed the foul as having been invalidated by the ‘offside’.

The replay system allows referees to halt games to review footage of “game-changing decisions.” They can also rely on information being fed by the video assistant referee (known as VAR) watching broadcast feeds from outside the stadium.

This is the first time the VAR experiment has gone live in competition. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed the hope that it can be confirmed by IFAB in time for formal use at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

FIFA clarification

FIFA later issued a statement clarifying its position on both issues and backing Kassai’s performance, saying: “On the half-hour mark, after receiving information about a missed incident from Video Assistant Referee Danny Makkelie, referee Viktor Kassai made the TV signal to indicate that he would conduct an on-field review of footage via the pitch-side monitor.

“Before that the assistant referee had correctly applied the ‘wait and see’ technique with regard to the offside position of the player who was fouled.

“The offside offence never materialised because the player was unable to challenge the opponent for the ball, and the Hungarian referee subsequently pointed to the penalty mark, judging from the replay that Daigo Nishi had been tripped inside the penalty area by Atletico’s Orlando Berrio.”