Friday, 8 March 2019

UEFA Champions League VAR decisions explained (Real Madrid - Ajax, PSG - Manchester United and Porto - Roma)

Following this week’s UEFA Champions League matches, UEFA wishes to provide additional information and elements that were taken into consideration by the VAR and referees in reaching various decisions.
Real Madrid CF – AFC Ajax
Ball in/out of play - 62’

There was no conclusive evidence that the ball would have been entirely out of play from all video angles and images that were carefully analysed by the VAR.

The assistant referee, who was perfectly positioned, had adjudged that the whole ball had not fully crossed the touchline. No on-field review was therefore required. Consequently, the referee was right not to intervene and to allow the goal.

FC Porto – AS Roma
Penalty award - 116’

The VAR, after checking the offside line - which confirmed the attacker to be onside - asked the referee if he had seen the holding offence committed by the AS Roma defender.

The referee confirmed he was unaware of any holding during live play and he asked for the images to be prepared to allow him to conduct an on-field review (serious missed incident). The review convinced the referee that a penalty kick should be awarded for a holding offence.

FC Porto – AS Roma
No VAR intervention - 121’

The referee was close to the action and had himself seen the potential incident in live play and judged that there was no foul.

The referee nevertheless decided to delay the restart of play, to give more time to the VAR to review the different camera angles available. A VAR check was conducted, and the various images were studied carefully by the VAR, who did not find any clear evidence.

The referee was then informed by the VAR that following the check no clear and obvious error had occurred and that there was no ground for a VAR intervention and an on-field review.

Paris Saint-Germain – Manchester United FC
Penalty award - 90'

The VAR, after checking various different angles available to him, recommended to the referee an on-field review following the penalty area incident.

Given that the referee did not recognise the incident clearly during live play (referred to as serious missed incident in the VAR protocol) an on-field review was conducted.

Following the on-field review, the referee confirmed that the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected. The defender’s arm was not close to the body, which made the defender’s body bigger thus resulting in the ball being stopped from travelling in the direction of the goal. The referee, therefore, awarded a penalty kick. 

All the above-mentioned decisions were made in full compliance with the VAR protocol.



  1. Good transparency and indeed it was like what I thought. I hope this teaches everyone that the missed serious incident principle plays a critical role.

  2. I really praise the trasparency by Rosetti and the committee.
    They explain everything, one can't ask for more.
    It was impossible to think to have something like that in past, hopefully this will help some people in accepting the decisions taken on the pitch.

    1. I agree. Excellent, transparent work by Roberto Rosetti, even after such controversial night. One can agree or not but at least the strong arguments are given, especially regarding handball, offside at penalty in Porto and ball on the line incident in Madrid.

      In Poland, Mr Przesmycki (head of referees) was publishing analysis for long period but then, Zbigniew Boniek (president of Polish FA) forbade him to do so. Polish VAR leader Łukasz Wachowski (who was never a referee) wrote on Twitter that posting official analysis of referees' decisions is 'a not so good model to follow'. Since that time, no official statement about referees' decisions are made in Poland. Really bad...

    2. Of course a very good thing. It would become excellent, if they would even admit and explain mistakes, when they happen. This still remains to be seen.
      And situations/matches, that are not commented on, become a bit dubious, because we don't know, whether UEFA also supports them (e.g. Atletico-Juve).

    3. To check whether UEFA is willing to admit even clear mistakes in applying / missing VAR protocol, we should wait for the first one. Of course, I wish that this will never happen.
      In my opinion so far nothing very significant was missed and all the situations in which there was a VAR intervention and then an OFR are supportable / understandable for some reasons.
      It is quite sure that what UEFA writes is not everything and maybe they didn't like a decision by a referee in these games, but so far, I don't have the impression that there was something really wrong. Hopefully I wish this will never happen. Better to make an OFR more than to miss an incident.

  3. Great, I really like this new "style" Rosetti and the committee have introduced

  4. Brych was appointed for the Hamburg Derby on Sunday (2nd Bundesliga) but again without Borsch and Lupp...

    1. It's not unusual for Bundesliga referees to referee with different ARs in lower leagues, but in this case...

  5. Indeed great. The only thing you can discuss about is the judgement of the ref. Was he correct or not.

  6. So, we can make a conclusion, that "the referee [Skomina] did not recognise the incident clearly during live play (referred to as serious missed incident in the VAR protocol) an on-field review was conducted" and it worsens Skomina`s chances for UCL Final in Madrid this year...
    Secondly, special for Mikael. There is no bad press about Mykola Balakin in Ukraine. He is only 30 and he started to referee our second league in 22. He is our future. Our referees haven`t handled UCL GS matches for 20`s awful.No Boiko, no Aranovskyi were allowed to handle even decided matches in 6th tour... Balakin is not our Oliver, unfortunately. He won`t be appoined for his UCl match in 31...
    One interesting moment, our leaders often lose points when the referee is Balakin:)

    1. Thank you Sviat for your words. I watch his progress carefully!

  7. This is the third set of VAR explanations (that I've seen) posted by UEFA.

    The three are: (First week review) (Schalke v Man City with the system fail) (The one posted above)

  8. Very clear explanations, I praise Rosetti for this work. So, we have the evidence that the procedure is the same as in Germany. Missed serious incidents lead to OFRs even if it is not a clear and obvious mistake. If the referee has a perception of the incident the VAR does only intervene in case of a clear difference between referee‘s perception and the pictures (clear and obvious mistake).
    That also means that the VARs in all matches have done good or even excellent work.

  9. Well done by UEFA, hopefully English refereeing Twitter experts like Hackett and Halsey will shut up now.

  10. It's a very good thing that UEFA explained some decision. I understand and I agree with all there explanations except only one: on/offside before Porto's penalty

    There are 3 photos provided by UEFA regarding 116' in Porto- Roma. Please take a look carefully at photo 1 (moment of shot, with blue lines for offside) and photo 3 (with 2 lines, the red line and the blue line for offside). Those pictures are not simultaneos, it's not the same moment.
    It's a preety obvious thing if we look at the positions of Florenzi and Fernando in 1st picture, than in the 3rd picture. The 3rd picture is taken few miliseconds EARLIER and, indeed, is onside.
    For this reason UEFA didn't convince me.

    Other thing not related with this situation, but it's good to know: as far as I know (at least I heard Rizzoli saying that) the "freeze-frame" (or "fotograma") is made by a human, one of operators from VAR room (not the soft). It's really impossible for someone to make the freeze-frame in the exact moment of shot/ pass. But this is very important. A delay of freeze-frame with 0,01 seconds means few centimetres in the other part. And a few centimetres are the difference between the offside and onside.
    For that reason Rizzoli said that in preferable for VAR not to intervene if it's about centimetrical offsides.

    1. Maybe I'm wrong , you are free to tell me that I'm wrong. But honesly, my perception is that photo 1 is not simultaneous with photo 3. I'm still watching those photos...

    2. Wow, to be honest, your comments really begin to hurt.

      Photo 1 shows a camera which has a blured angle. The offside lines are on the pitch, the upper body is in the air. It is normal that from this position the upper body is above the line.

      Photo 3 shows the exactly same moment in the GLT camera. They even made a perpendicular line for the attacker to catch the right part of the body (in the air). Technology providers can easily syncronise all cameras, this was even said in recent documentations in I think Germany or Netherlands. Please trust the technology. It is hurting to read you question a 100% safely working technology just because you don't understand physics. And again, you see conspiracies everywhere.

      Sorry also in the direction of Chefren if I am so clear, but such comments just hurt my (hopefully not too low) intelligence.

    3. I'm sorry if I bothered someone with this comment. That was my perception, I just wanted to hear a point of view from other members. Anyway, after a very careful look at photo 1, I think also photo 1 shows it wasn't offside.

    4. It is simply said petschovschi, if you don't want to believe as principle in your mind, you will never believe. So I hope at least that the answers you get are convincing you. We can't do more than that. It is already too much, to be honest.
      Consider that some readers don't like your posts and I understand them, but my strong wish is that you can change idea and stop conspiracy theories. My patience, as you can see, is big. ;)

  11. Refereeing highlights from the Sevilla - Slavia Praha game, handled by Ruddy Buquet

    1. If I remember well, this is not the first time AR1 Guillaume Debart make crucial mistakes in EL. And there is two this time.

    2. Disagree Nathan. There is only one here. Very good cancelled goal the first time and good onside (very difficult) with Ben Yedder. Agree for the crucial mistake at 80’ but tight offside (offside position after 2 meters of the ball after pass)

    3. You are right I guess I was very tired the first time i watched the highlights :D

  12. Hi all. Sorry but it’s gonna be a long post!
    I did not comment anything about Porto-Roma since I’m a Roma fan and I’m surely biased. Nevertheless I really deprecate what most of italian press stated about the match. It was not a robbery at all, we could discuss forever about penalty/no penalty and we’ll never get to a conclusion. That’s the clear sign that an OFR was meaningless.

    With regards to these news from UEFA, one must say that it’s very good to have clear statements and explanations. No controversies, well done Rosetti & co! After last year’s bad performances in many important matches, a more efficient and clear communication was needed.

    In my opninion there are two more steps to make VAR efficient at its best:
    - show images in the stadiums, not happening everywhere so far and hear the referees like in any other sport
    -introduce the VAR intervention for doubtful situations only if a team asks for it, like the “Challenges” in tennis, volley or basket. I would keep the compulsory VAR intervention only for offsides and inside/outside penalty area, ball in/out, which are objective decisions to take. That would avoid the polemics like “why didn’t the ref check that penalty?” and similar.
    What do you think about these two possible improvements?

    1. I agree with you 100%, Marco about your proposals. Club should have, for example, 2 challenges (or 1) per match when they think the ref made significant mistake. This situation in Porto in 121' is worth of challenging and it would be interesting to see what would be cakir's final decision, would he have the same opinion as Marciniak. Some VAR interventions should stay mandatory, as you said. I believe that is the way how VAR will develop in the future.
      About UEFA's statement: no doubt that everything was done in compliance with VAR protocol. But, I am still not convinced that UEFA is sure that Marciniak made correct decision, that there was no evidence about contact in 121'. If you read carefully this statement, you can see that protocol was followed and that is ok, but about this incident I find that there is no full support about final decision given by Marciniak. And if you re-watch the incident you can clearly see that there was a contact.

    2. My opinion is that OFR is a non-sense.

      If a mistake is CLEAR AND OBVIOUS why OFR is needed ? I understand that VAR protocol wants too keep the decision to the referee, to give him the required importance in the game. But VAR should take the decision if he sees a clear and obvious mistake. He should be enforced with this power.
      That's my opinion.

  13. OT:
    I want to again mention Australian FIFA referee Jarred Gillett who refereed his final A-League game Friday night before he heads to England to join the PGMOL select group 2.
    He gave a TV interview which I have added below along with the article about his move.

  14. On the right of the blog you can find the poll about 2018-19 UEFA CL Round of 16 - Week III - best officiating.
    It will end on Monday 11/03 8:30 CET.

  15. Predictions for next week:

    Juventus - Atlético
    Kuipers (NED)

    Manchester City - Schalke 04
    Marciniak (POL)

    Barcelona - Lyon
    Orsato (ITA)

    Bayern - Liverpool
    Turpin (FRA)

  16. Refereeing highlights of the Dinamo Zagreb - Benfica game handled by Michael Oliver

    1. Standard Oliver.

      Crucial decision and penalty was well awarded,all of his bookings justified,missed some small fouls(or no fouls),but all in all,good job once again.

  17. I wonder one thing: If referee gives a free kick and the goal is scored, is the VAR ref able to call the ref for OFR if there was no foul (in case of diving)? It is not possible to review free kick decision prior the goal is scored, but is it after the scoring?
    Furthermore, if there is offside and AR missed it, and after that the corner kick or free kick is given and the goal is scored - is there a possibility to annul that goal? In those cases, the goal occur few minutes after the offense is made.

    1. No VAR allowed in both cases. Once the game has continued, no changes are possible.

    2. I thought so. Thank you. That's another problem with VAR.

    I must say excellent decision in Manchester City - Watford, 1--0 scored by Sterling.
    No offside, as there is a deliberate play by defender who kicks the ball against Sterling, and the latter scores. Without defender intervention, Sterling would have been reported as offside.
    I think there isn't any previous "influence" by Sterling on the defender, as it is the latter running behind him and then playing deliberately the ball.

    1. Wat did u say? Sterling makes a move to side foot that ball and there by impacted on the defender to play that ball if sterling wasn't dere he would plat it under no pressure. What is football turning too. This is blatant offside he attempted to play the ball and ran towards the ball by the rule that is punishable

    2. Is it when a player touches the ball he becomes offside? No. Does he attempt to play the ball? Yes. Does he impact on the defenders ability to play the ball? Yes. This is quite different from punishing a foul before an of field offennce is committed this is quite interfering with play. Which in its own right is a clear offside

    3. Clear offside, this should be punishable..

    4. I know the situation because I watched the game. I will write few lines:
      - imho should be offside. It's a matter of common sense (beyond any personal point of view based on LPTG)
      - the most important reason for offside should be the short distance between Sterling and defender (in the moment when defender play the ball)
      - other reasons are the fact that Sterling clearly attempted to play the ball, the defender was clearly influenced by Sterling because he didn't have much time to play the ball in a better way (Sterling was near him)

    5. One of the clearest offside offences in the last 10 years. Clearly challenges the opponent for the ball. Super easy call. There is absolutely nothing to discuss about it. Schoolboy error.

    6. That's offside. Keep it simple.

    7. This is 100% offside. How has the ref reversed the decision I do not understand. This changed the game completely.

    8. Guardiola man City manager had to apologise to Watford and raheem sterling said they were fortunate to get the goal

    9. Indeed no problem in admitting that I was wrong. Sorry all!

  19. Situation in Croatia,match between Belupo and Hajduk,referee was Fran Jovic.

    Was this RC offence,since we all know about new rules that prevent RC in these types of situations?
    Best example was penalty last week in Rome Derby.

    1. For me it is a clear red card. Foul was made with a hand, no intention to play the ball, so if i am not wrong this is red card. It would be yellow if there is atempt to play the ball, but this os foul made by hand, there is no atemot to play the ball.

    2. Surely no attempt to play the ball - the new rules are therefore not relevant.
      One can discuss about the DOGSO itself though: Does the attacker really control the ball here, would he reach it before the GK and still in a very good position?
      I think, the RC is supportable, but not completely clear.

  20. Interesting Situation from the opening matchday in MLS...
    The referee was Drew Fischer from Canada.
    Correct decision IMO

    1. Yes, correct for me as well.
      It seemed, he called the penalty after been informed about the offside, which is good. But I am wondering, why the OFR was needed here as his penalty decision was surely not a mistake.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Fischer himself asked for the OFR to confirm his call on field (Disallow the goal because PRO in US is teaching that deliberate handling does not constitute a deliberate play and reset offside, RC for DOGSO-H, and PK).

    4. None of this is 100% accurate.

      Fischer showed the red card on the field--a yellow card was never shown and that is false. Fischer asked for the OFR as a management tool; he realized the call was very confusing/controversial and he smartly realized that going to look quickly at an OFR would help calm dissent.

    5. I don't know the instructions about that, but to me it would appear that the VAR has serious doubts about (a part of) the decision, when the referee goes to an OFR, but doesn't change it. Would it not be better regarding dissent to tell the players: "VAR checked it, clear situation, no need for an OFR"?

    6. Apologies for the YC comment, I forgot to mention in the comment that that was an assumption of mine, not a statement of fact as I have not seen the incident. I did not mean to slread falsehoods

  21. I'd like to know the impression of the other readers from Spain. I've got the feeling that VAR is not being applied in the same way in LaLiga as in UCL. Mainly regarding the missed incident part. To me, it seems like they only intervene in missed incidents when they are also clear and obvious, and not like Çakir's situation the other day.

  22. Other MLS highlights:

    Philadelphia vs Toronto
    Referee: Nima Saghafi
    Penalty Kick:
    Penalty Kick:
    Orlando vs. New York City:
    Referee: Baldomero Toledo:
    Potential Handball:

    I believe that both Saghafi's calls were correct. (Note Nima Saghafi is only 29 and is one of the most promising referees in North America). Toledo's call is in my opinion incorrect. I believe that Chanot (NYCFC) player takes a risk by having his arms where they were, and this should be a penalty kick.

    1. The first one is incorrect. No handball at all.

      The second one is correct but I can't understand his way of running away from the 'traditional' way of whistling a PK. He's going on the right after whistling, I know it's not that important but refereeing is also about theater and transparency in our way of acting.

    2. I can confirm that PRO determined Toledo's decision was incorrect. PRO backed the VAR.

      PRO did not say Saghafi's first penalty was an error. Apparently there were more angles to show handling was supportable.

      I do not understand the critique of Saghafi's movement on the second penalty. You want him to run to the left side of the field because it's "tradition?" That makes no sense. It's a dumb tradition. He runs toward the incident to better sell the call. That is the better "theater" and is more transparent. By moving close to play and pointing exactly to the person who committed the handling, the public better understands the decision. Running to the left side of the penalty spot and goal just because of "tradition" is stupid.

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