RAY GATT & SAMINDRA KUNTI / AIPS: The video assistance system being applied at next month’s World Cup finals in Russia for the first time remains an issue of controversy after weekend incidents as far distant as Australia and Belgium.
In the first, Football Federation Australia has blamed a technical glitch for failing to overrule the goal that helped Melbourne Victory win Saturday’s A-League grand final against Newcastle Jets.
Then, in Belgium, Anderlecht reopened the league title race after a crucial 2-1 win away to Club Brugge who complained about a number of technology decisions against them.
In Australia Melbourne and Newcastle were contesting the grand final of the domestic league. Victory beat the Jets 1-0 after Kosta Barbarouses scored the only goal in the ninth minute but photo evidence showed it should not have been allowed as James Donachie was off-side when he headed the ball down into the path of Barbarouses.
Fans were perplexed that the VAR did not intervene.
Later the FFA issued a statement saying it had found a technical glitch that meant the VAR did not have access to the camera view which would have enabled him to make the offside ruling.
Greg O’Rourke, the FFA’s head of A-League, siad : “According to the technology partner Hawkeye, the capture software that uploads the broadcast feed into the VAR system was partially lost 30 seconds before Victory’s goal due to a malfunction of software.
“It was not until some minutes after the goal that this was restored, too late to change the decision on the goal as the game had restarted.
“Under VAR regulations, where there is no clear evidence to the contrary, the on-field decision — in this case allowing the goal — stands. The camera feed to match broadcaster Fox Sports, which is routed separately, was not affected.
“We are extremely disappointed at this failure of the VAR technology and we understand the disappointment and frustration of the Newcastle Jets, their fans and indeed all football fans.
“VAR was introduced here and in other parts of the world as a technology based solution to correct the human errors that inevitably are made from time to time when officials are making judgments in split seconds.
“On this occasion the technology itself failed and the broadcast angles required were unavailable. We are working with Hawkeye to thoroughly understand why it did and what can be done to prevent this happening again.
“Whilst we understand that this happened only once this season it was at a most critical time. All parties desire the technology to be failure proof and that is what we will be striving for.
“This is important not just for the A-League but for other leagues around the world and for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at which VAR will be used for the first time.”
In Belgium technical glitches due to heat were resolved before the kick-off of the Brugge v Anderlecht clash. The hosts have been dominant throughout this season but a recent slump in form has opened the door for a title challenge from Anderlecht, and Standard.
Polish striker Lukasz Teodorzyck gave the visitors the lead in the second half but had scored from an offside position, something the VAR failed to spot.
Japanese striker Ryota Morioka doubled Anderlecht’s lead but Abdoulay Diaby pulled one back for Brugge, tapping in a rebound in the 80th minute. His attempt lacked power and barely crossed the goal line but the VAR did not intervene and Diaby’s goal was judged valid.
The hosts and title favorites were left fuming. Brugge chairman Bart Verhaeghe said: “This is not good for our football and for the league.”