LONDON: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has again extolled the virtues of video assistance for referees – while hailing the Champions League drama in Barcelona last night.
Barcelona benefited from two controversial penalty awards on their way to a dramatic 6-1 Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain in Camp Nou which took them through to the quarter-finals 6-5 on aggregate.
Infantino carefully avoided commenting on a crucial late penalty awarded by Germany’s Deniz Aytekin but did follow up on his comments last Friday, also in London, after positive reports after experiments with VARs. He hopes the system will be in place for the World Cup in Russia next year.
This time, attending a regional summit organised by the world federation, Infantino said: “Whether that particular case was an injustice or not, we can leave it to the judgment of the referee.
“What we saw was an incredible football match, whatever the result would have been at the end. This shows that football is really a fantastic game.
“Whenever you have the feeling you have seen everything, something else comes along that you’ve never seen before. It’s just amazing and incredible.
“We have to really be careful in the International Football Association Board if we want to touch the rules, because football is such an incredible game.
“In this case, I don’t know if it was a clear mistake or not. But, in future, when there are clear mistakes, this will be corrected by the video assistant referee so we can make sure decisive matches are not decided by mistakes made in good faith by the referee.”
The VAR system can be used only for four specific types of decision: goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity. Hence:
1, The referee must always make a decision and that decision will stand unless it is “clearly wrong”;
2, The referee can only go back to the start of the attacking phase which leads to the incident;
3, A goal scored from a throw-in which should have gone to the other team could not be disallowed under the new system; and
4, If the ball is still in play, the referee will wait until it is in a neutral zone before stopping play. If the decision is not overturned, play will restart with a drop ball.