Friday, 9 November 2018

A lesson we learned from CL MD4: VAR is now necessary

Matchday 4 of 2018-19 UEFA Champions League has shown again that nowadays in top football VAR is more than necessary. Two paramount examples of what could have been avoided with the use of technology. 

Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP) checking an incident with VAR. 
Referees will make always mistakes because they are human. That's clear and we have to accept this fact. However, what happened in Champions League on MD4, in particular in two games, is for sure the last and definitive argument in favor of technology introduction in this very important competition. We can analyze the situations involving two referees in different games: Viktor Kassai in Manchester City - Shakhtar Donetsk and Cüneyt Çakır in CSKA Moscow - Roma. In both situations we have clear, obvious and objective mistakes. So, the correction of such mistakes would be more than welcomed by the referees themselves. 

Viktor Kassai in Manchester City - Shakhtar Donetsk has whistled this penalty to home-team (thank to our reader Jackson for the video):

No contact at all between the attacker, who can be guilty of simulation, and the defender. This penalty is very difficult to accept at this level. We don't know whether there was a cooperation with AAR1, but for sure this is not relevant in this case. Such final decision was taken and home side scored a goal. This game ended 6-0 and maybe this decision was not so much influencing, but you can easily imagine that a similar thing could have happened with a different score, and this call would have been, in that case, decisive for the outcome of the encounter.

The second incident is very particular regarding the kind of cooperation required to referee and assistant referee: the decisive goal scored by Roma in Moscow is clearly offside. This was definitely not easy to spot live for the Turkish crew.

As you can see in the video, on the original pass, the player who then will score looks to be in an extremely tight offside, only by leg. Something quite difficult to see for AR. In this scenario, the decision to play on by could be supportable. Not the same when a replay discovers that a touch by another player from the same team has occurred. So, the player scoring the goal, after this touch, must be considered in a quite clear offside position. You can see the referee following closely the action, without any idea that such scenario has happened. At the same time, one can't blame so much the assistant referee, because the touch of attacker, very difficult to spot, happened on the other side than his point of view (the body of attacker covered the touch to AR's view). So, he had just to make an intuition. Almost impossible, given also, and that's very recurrent, the speed of the action. It is almost impossible for all officials to realize that a small touch can change a decision. This is only VAR stuff, but at the same time something objective without any doubt. With this goal, the team won the game by gaining three very important points. Almost decisive for qualification to next phase.

So, trying to draw conclusions, if in the first case we can for sure state that referee could have managed better the incident (but the mistake remains), in the second situation it is not a mistake to say that officials have not big responsibilities The only solution is therefore VAR. Referees and assistant referees will have a very helpful technology at their side and such mistakes will be avoided.

Some rumors report that UEFA is trying to accelerate the process of introduction, and maybe we will have VAR in UEFA Champions League games starting from the KO stage of this edition (February 2019). This would be more than welcomed and would solve (hopefully) everything. 


  1. I want a video for this situation

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    cautioned for unsporting behaviour and if the throw-in has been taken an
    indirect free kick is awarded

    1. Very rare, I never saw a video about this particular incident in a game.

    2. Why indirect? Just like a failed respect of distance on a free kick is retaken the throw in is retaken.

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  2. Full team on the pitch for CAF Champions League Final

    Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (Ethiopia)
    Siwela (S. Africa), Ali (Sudan), Otogo-Castane (Gabon)

    I can report a really very good first half by Tessema- in my opinion on 8,6 level.
    Outstanding player management, opening the cards at 24' for a YC for reckless tackle then YC for the UB reaction in the same moment was very smart, penalty correctly rejected in a tricky situation at 32' supported by VAR (any info on who is executing these roles?), excellent prevention, almost always able to see through simulations of players, and a referee who is giving us a great show.

    In my opinion, FIFA should expunge Charef from Club WC list and replace him with Tessema- he is a really 'special' referee who can go far at Qatar 2022, if he keeps performing like this.

    Good luck for the 2H!

    1. Excellent Tessema tonight.

    2. No official info by CAF about the full appointment. We can't know who was in VAR room. Siwela and Ahmed Ali were assistant referee, Otogo-Castane fourth official.
      However, I agree with you, I watched the game as well, the second half was on the same level of first half. To be reported a possible violent conduct (reaction), VAR didn't intervene but I think it was not 100% clear.
      Tessema Weysa looked to be always in control of a very, very hot game, given the circumstances.
      The fact that he smiled all match long was a very good signal, because he was calm and firm, clearly not under pressure. He managed and solved every situation with the needed authority.
      By far better than Charef, who should be out from FIFA Club World Cup, after what he did in first leg.

    3. I just found multiple news sites that reported Mr Charef has been suspended by CAF, also facing an investigation into his performance in the first leg.
      For certain, he should be out from Club WC now.

    4. I found something as well, but we have to wait for an official statement by CAF. Before that, we can't trust any news.
      Just to add about Wessema, he is for sure not an elegant referee, you could even say that he is quite aggressive with players. But he is aggressive in a very positive meaning: he feels the game. You can remember him as fourth official during WC, he already gave the impression of being quite "aggressive". This doesn't mean that he is not good, I prefer such a referee who can keep the control in a vey challenging game taking crucial decisions. Of course, with more experience in FIFA tournaments he can even improve and he can acquire a more "UEFA" style. Basically, he looks to be very promising.
      I want to say also that I'm not against CAF referees, as I already stated, but what Charef did in first leg has not explanations for sure. The first penalty maybe but the second? Confirming such calls even after VAR review in a FIFA tournament would be a big scandal. Really sorry for such words. Let's see what FIFA will decide.

    5. What happened with Charef?

    6. VAR appointment for second leg.
      VAR: Bakary Gassama (Gambia)
      AVAR 1: El Hadji Samba (Senegal)
      AVAR 2: Djibril Camara (Senegal)


    7. Interesting to have the same 4O, VAR and AVARs in both final legs.

  3. Chefren, can you make a topic about Copa Libertadores final if there are readers interested in it?

    1. Yes I can do that, maybe I can open a discussion today...

  4. Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon -
    Apollon v Frankfurt -
    Could the referee have handled this better?
    Bordeaux v Zenit -
    Vorskla v Qarabag -
    Akhisar v Sevilla - A tough match - only one angle but is this a foul? - What is the card given for, reckless or SPA?
    Dynamo Kyiv v Rennes -
    Spartak Moscow v Rangers -
    Fenerbahce v Anderlecht -

    1. Jackson thank you so much for your videos, if sometimes the post you send doesn't appear immediately on the blog, don't worry. It is because the site automatically marks it as spam. When I'm online, I fix it. No need to send it many times. :) Your videos are really appreciated!

  5. OT - Ligue 1 - Referee appointments for Matchday 13

    09/11/2018, 20:45CET
    Referee: Olivier Thual
    Assistant Referees: Eric Danizan - Djemel Zitouni
    Fourth Official: Antoine Valnet
    Video Assistant Referees : Johan Hamel - Romain Delpech

    10/11/2018, 17:00CET
    Referee: Mikael Lesage
    Assistant Referees: Michael Annonier - Frédéric Hebrard
    Fourth Official: Mehdi Mokhtari
    Video Assistant Referees : Frank Schneider (FIFA - 2nd) - Hamid Guenaoui

    10/11/2018, 20:00CET
    Referee: Florent Batta
    Assistant Referees : Benjamin Pagès (FIFA) - Stéphan Pignatelli
    Fourth Official: Romain Lissorgue
    Video Assistant Referees: Jérôme Miguelgorry - Bruno Coué

    10/11/2018, 20:00CET
    Referee: Jérémy Stinat
    Assistant Referees: Yannick Boutry - Stéphan Luzi
    Fourth Official: Cédric Dos Santos
    Video Assistant Referees : Antony Gautier - Dominique Julien

    10/11/2018, 20:00CET
    Referee: Eric Wattellier
    Assistant Referees: Aurélien Berthomieu - François Boudikian
    Fourth Official: Rémi Landry
    Video Assistant Referees: Thomas Léonard - Alexandre Perreau-Niel

    10/11/2018, 20:00CET
    Referee: Benoît Bastien (FIFA - Elite)
    Assistant Referees: Hicham Zakrani (FIFA) - Frédéric Haquette (FIFA)
    Fourth Official: Bastien Dechepy
    Video Assistant Referees: Alexandre Castro - Pierre Gaillouste

    11/11/2018, 15:00CET
    Referee: Nicolas Rainville (FIFA - 2nd)
    Assistant Referees: Huseyin Ocak - Christophe Mouysset
    Fourth Official: Abdelatif Kherradji
    Video Assistant Referees: François Letexier (FIFA - 2nd) - Lionel Jaffredo

    11/11/2018, 17:00CET
    Referee: Karim Abed (FIFA - 2nd)
    Assistant Referees: Mikael Berchebru - Cyril Gringore (FIFA)
    Fourth Official: Lakhdar El Bedoui
    Video Assistant Referees: Benoît Millot (FIFA - 2nd) - Hamid Guenaoui

    11/11/2018, 17:00CET
    Referee: Willy Delajod
    Assistant Referees: Philippe Jeanne - Gilles Lang
    Fourth Official: Bartolomeu Varela
    Video Assistant Referees: Hakim Ben El Hadj - Wilfried Bien

    11/11/2018, 21:00CET
    Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FIFA - 1st)
    Assistant Referees: Guillaume Debart (FIFA) - Julien Pacelli (FIFA)
    Fourth Official: Jérôme Brisard (FIFA - 2nd)
    Video Assistant Referees: Amaury Delerue (FIFA - 2nd) - Alexandre Castro

    Monaco - PSG turns out to have been considered as a "top clash" by committee (the team is formed only with FIFA referees, except AVAR), even though it won't be a challenging game IMO, the gap between both teams is too important. BTW, first game in the hot Stade Vélodrome for young Willy Delajod, definitely a big hope for French and maybe European refereeing. Hot derby for Benoît Bastien, I thing this kind of matches deserves experienced referees. Finally, expected level from Thual yesterday in poor Lille-Strasbourg.

  6. Fedayi San, who since I last wrote about was appointed by Mr Clattenburg to officiate a match in Saudi Arabia, handled FC Basel - Lugano at the weekend.
    He awarded this penalty; quite particular decision for my taste.

    Otherwise, expected level in a fairly easy going match. I watch his progress carefully.

    Benoît Millot made his EL debut in a challenging match in Turkey, in front of the important observer Mr Bianchi.
    In what could be defining night in his international career, French referee awarded two penalties and a RC, which made for not-the-easiest debut.

    Read about his performance in my report which can be found below

    A question for our French readers who watched him more than me, how do you see Millot?

    1. I’ve always considered Millot as a very talented referee, sometimes underestimated by French Committee, and IMO that’s why hé makes his EL debut only now. Unfortunately for him, he belongs to the same generation as Turpin and Bastien, and that’s why he didn’t have his chance in top clashes in Ligue 1 last years.
      Furthermore, French Committee is quite « conservative » concerning appointements for big games (usually we see Turpin, Buquet or Bastien, or even Gautier). He also comes from Paris, which impedes him to officiate on top clashes involving PSG, like OM-PSG or Cups’ Finals.

      BTW we start to see him on big matches this season, which is very good for his development (such as Monaco - OM, officiated by Buquet last year, or Lyon - Bordeaux, officiated by Turpin last year).

      However I am a bit worried about him, because I think that a referee like Letexier has a head start on Millot : we can see that on the appointements, and the fact that he made his CL debut prior to Millot.

  7. OT
    Interesting situation in Serbian league, Mažić was appointed only 2 times in 16 rounds. He is more often appointed to Saudia Arabia, China and countrys like that than Serbian league. His ARs got more games and often are going in pair with Danilo Grujić .

  8. Three interesting incidents from Wisła Płock v Zagłębie Sosnowiec today

    What decision should have been made if a) goalkeeper plays the ball with head at first, b) goalkeeper tries to head the ball but misses and the ball directly hits his arm?

    Foul or exaggerated fall? No VAR intervention.

    Brilliantly spotted foul (illegal use of arm / impeding the progress of an opponent)

    1. If the ball is a clear shot on goal, in case of deliberate handball, then RC. In case of touch by head at first, then no foul.

    2. Second incident: no VAR intervention is OK. I don't see a clear foul there, player made it bigger.

      Third: clear foul, excellent call.

    3. In my opinion, goalkeeper tried but didn't touch the ball with head. He stopped the ball with upper arm. My opinion is RC for goal keeper.
      Action: 2: Play on
      Action 3: correct penalty kick

  9. Copa Libertadores final Boca - River will be played tomorrow due to weather conditions.

  10. OT: Boca Juniors-River Plate postponed until tomorrow Sunday at 20:00 CET due to heavy rain in Argentina and consequent poor pitch conditions.

  11. Sánchez Martínez's AR1 just craised the flag on this decisive goal situation in last minute (Atlético #8 does not intervene, it's Godín who scores). Thank God there's VAR.

    Anyway, I think it was a good performance from Sánchez Martínez in a difficult and hot match.

    1. In his assessment, very likely AR missed the defender close to #8 ATLETICO.

    2. I agree with you Quilava, Sánchez Martínez did really well in this match (what firmness!). He handled it like an experienced Elite referee; impressive.

  12. OT

    It's very harsh what I say: a referee who resume the game Genoa- Napoli on that pitch (more or less a swamp) is an idiot and doesn't deserve to whistle games at this level. It's unacceptable to play football in those conditions.

    1. I should delete this comment, you assume the full responsibility for what you said, I disagree. Even more given that we can't be sure that the final decision is up ONLY to referee.

    2. The safety and physical well being of all the players on the pitch is indeed the full responsibility of the referee crew. If as the referee in my opinion the pitch conditions presents a safety hazard to the players. I am suspending the match. I don't care what the higher ups say. I'd make my decision, stand by it and accept the repercussions. That's called having backbone and guts to do what is right. But modern day referee's lack the conviction and guts to do what is right and what if for the good of the game.

  13. Controversial disallowed goal in the southampton watford game today. Any opinions or footage? Southampton players were livid after the match!

      0:30 - penalty refused for Watford
      0:51 - disallowed goal for Southampton

      For me these are two crucial mistakes from ref Simon Hooper, whom honestly I've never seen in Premier League so far...

    2. 1) Clear penalty
      2) Not an active offside, player clearly shows that he doesn't want to play the ball. He doesn't interfere, he is not on keeper line of vision.

    3. I think this was his second ever PL match. He got promoted this year but so far seems below the PL standard.

  14. Lechia Gdańsk - Cracovia

    illegal use of arm; tool or weapon?

    Penalty incident

    Penalty. YC issued and, as I don't think DOGSO was the case here, most likely the YC was for dissent.

    Coach impedes the progress of an opponent team's player outside the field of play but with the ball being still on the field of play. Should VAR (Stefański) have intervened?

    Unsporting behaviour or violent conduct? Is the warning enough?

    Two handling incidents; imo, not deliberate

    1. 1) Clear YC for reckless use of arm. It would be a mistake to whistle without issuing a card, at the same time I think YC is enough.
      2) Correct by referee, attacker tries to win a penalty there. Never a clear foul. VAR not needed.
      3) Correct penalty, not a DOGSO. If YC was for another reason, OK.
      4) If this was a deliberate act by coach against the player, well, VAR should have intervened. Coach should have been dismissed from the pitch. I think all the officials missed this incident?
      5) RC for violent conduct, a replay is clear. VAR should have intervened.
      6) First handball can be punishable, the second one never.

  15. All this hysteria, clamor and rush to introduce VAR, How bout the Ref Comm starts by getting rid of thye "dead weight" to include the past their expiration date "dinosaurs" referee's. We all know who they are by name. So need for me to put them on blast.

    1. I have to say that, in principle, I am against VAR. I have my reasons, I won't explain now.
      On the other hand I have to say that, in recent years, we had some unbelievable mistake of referees (some of them in very important games). VAR would have been very good in that games.

      I agree with Sheriff: VAR is needed because referees made (huge) mistakes. VAR exist only because the referees male mistakes. Main objective should be to reduce the number of huge mistakes, only after that to introduce VAR.
      I don't like the actual behaviour that every situation, every decision is reviewed by VAR (silent check). With this mentality referees will continue to make mistakes because they know someone will correct them anyway.

    2. With or without VAR referees will continue to make mistakes - unfortunately it's not as simple as just telling referees to make fewer mistakes.

      At least with VAR you have a chance to go from 95% to 99%+ correct decisions.

      And you surely know that it's not every decision, only the four categories available for a VAR check...

    3. Referees will make mistakes, no doubt about that. My impression is that, in last years, the number of huge mistakes increased. These huge mistakes made almost everyone to ask for VAR.
      The question is: are the referees from these days at the same level of competence like their predecessors ? I can't remember so many huge mistakes (in important games) 10-20 years ago. That's my problem.
      First of all we need very good referees. I huve huge doubts about some current high-rated referees (some of them Elite). After that we can talk about VAR.

      PS in Manchester City- Shaktar we had 5 referees. None of them was able to see that wasn't penalty. But Guardiola saw (from the bench)...

  16. I watched Munuera Montero (1983, becoming FIFA referee in January 2019) live on the stadium and didn't convinced me at all. Poor foul detection and unstable disciplinary criteria, at least he managed to keep full acceptance in an easy game he complicated himself. No crucial mistakes, a rejected penalty appeal in 1st half was supported by VAR. 8.0-8.1 area.

  17. VAR showing its worth in RB Liepzig v Bayer Leverkusen, awarding a goal after it was disallowed for offside. Referee and AR crucially waited a few seconds for the ball to cross the line, before VAR quickly corrected the decision without any delay.

  18. Penalty for Milan given by Mazzoleni after OFR. Normal decision I would say. It reminds me the penalty not given (after OFR) by Zwayer in Bayern- Mainz (more or less, same situation). The difference is the fact that Mazzoleni knows the meaning of common sense ...
    I would say that a (second) yellow card for Benatia is not out of question in this situation.

  19. Adrien Jaccottet was only average on the Greek classico Olympiakos - Panathinaikos. His foul detection was good in general and he correctly rejected 3 penalty appeals.

    But his disciplinary control was poor. Too many missed YC's for my taste.

    AR1 correctly flagged an offside at min. 4' before a goal was scored.

  20. Another offside contreversy in the PL. Major incorrect offside decision in liverpool fulham. Fulham goal incorrectly ruled out for offside, Liverpool quickly go up the other end to score. Changed the outcome of the match for sure.

    1. come on man, it was a legit offside, try to find the nbcs broadcast with the line.

    2. here you are

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