FRANKFURT: More video refereeing confusion reigned in Germany on Monday night when the players had to be called back from the dressing room for a crucial penalty.

VAR will be used for the first time at the World Cup finals in Russia in June and July even though problems concerning imposition and communication still exist, even in tournaments such as the Bundesliga where it is used regularly.

Guido Winkmann, the referee in the relegation duel between Mainz and Freiburg, had blown his whistle to signal the interval when he was alerted by the VAR referee Bibiana Steinhaus – the first woman to referee at senior level in Germany – to a handball in the Freiburg area.

Change of heart

After checking his monitor, Winkmann agreed with the penalty award and had to tell the players to return to the pitch where Pablo de Blasis shot past keeper Alexander Schwolow from the spot to give Mainz the lead in a match they ultimately won 2-0.

Schwolow said later: “It was strange that this could happen when we were already sitting in the dressing room . We could not believe it. My initial reaction had been that it was not a penalty.”

Freiburg sports director Jochen Saier said: “There was a lot of discussion and both sides did not understand it. We accept this though with some concern. It gets more and more curious.”

The process had taken seven minutes and the start of the second half was delayed not only because of the VAR delay but because of the ongoing protest by fans against Monday night football.