Following the shocking result of Argentina vs Saudi Arabia, which saw the underdogs carve out a win, some fans have come out to criticise the use of the VAR tech at the Qatar World Cup.
Video assistant referees or VAR is a new technology in the FIFA-hosted tournament, which has been in use in several other competitions in the past three years or so. Typically, it helps match officials reach decisions on actions that they may have missed that could alter the course of the game.
Some actions like offside, penalties, card situations, goal ruling and so on are under the jurisdiction of the technology. With some experts watching every action that directly affects the game from a screen, they can signal in-match referees. However, the final call in most situations are left to the match officials.
That is not the case with offsides. In this case, VAR and semi-automated offside tech decides if a player is offside or not. They signal the linesman and referee and they blow as directed.
In the Tuesday clash between Argentina and Saudi Arabia, the South American nation saw three goals ruled out as offside within the first 45 minutes. At the time, it seemed not to matter much as they were a goal up, thanks to a goal by their talisman, Messi. Things changed when the Arabian nation scored two goals in quick succession to sink the tournament favourites.
After the game, fans showed their displeasure as they felt that at least one of the disallowed goals, the chipped shot by striker Lautaro Martinez in the 27th minute, should have stood.
One Twitter account explained that the officials in the room used the wrong defender to judge Martinez’s position.
📺 ERROR catastrófico del VAR en el gol anulado a Lautaro Martínez.
El VAR cogió al defensa equivocado olvidándose del lateral izquierdo.
Lautaro Martínez se encuentra en POSICION LEGAL. ❌
— Archivo VAR (@ArchivoVAR) November 22, 2022
With football, there are no do overs. The result cannot be changed, even if the referee later admits that the call was indeed the wrong one. The only effect the criticism will have is that the tech would be more carefully used. Likely, experts who have been using VAR for years may fly to Qatar to assist with the handling.
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