Following the much highlighted incident that took place in the weekend game between Real Betis and Barcelona, where the ball clearly crossed the line for a Barça goal but was not awarded, talk has returned to the need for video technology to be used in the Spanish top flight. President of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, answered some questions put to him by the press about the possibility of Spain following the lead of England, Germany and France by introducing goal-line technology to aid refereeing decision.
Fifa still to sign-off on VAR
In his responses the president spoke about how the league had been working with Fifa for some eight months on the Video Assistant Referee system (VAR) and that meetings in Amsterdam and New York to further the project discussions. He also confirmed that tests in Spain will begin next year and that the training needs of referees and others involved are being looked at. "VAR is the most advanced form of this [type of technology] in football", he said, going on to advise, "From 2018, if Fifa approve VAR as the definitive technology, we will install it. By June 2018, VAR will be in all of the major leagues"
Careful cost-effective selection process
Fifa have shortlisted 15 companies with technological aids for football purposes and Tebas said that his organisation are speaking with each of them to get the most suitable system. This he insisted, "takes time".
There have been many people claiming that the already known system of Hawkeye could have been incorporated into the Spanish game by now but the president had a different view after investigating this during 2013/14. He was very clear that the cost of four million euros for only seven or eight instances a season was "an outrage" for the market. He also pointed to other instances where the system would have been used that have gone relatively unnoticed:
"We want the technology, but at a lower cost, that's why we discarded it. There have been three other cases and nobody has said anything. One in Deportivo-Valencia, another Real Sociedad against Barcelona, where Vela's goal should have stood, and another during Real Madrid versus Atlético. We have to put things into perspective; a lot has been made of this incident because the ball crossed the line by a big margin, but we are working on a technological system".
CWC complaints not justified
Tebas went on to defend VAR even though players had complained about its use during the Club World Cup, saying that lack of experience in using the system was the cause for the frustrations but that in general it was for the benefit of the referees and decision-making of the game. The key was to make it "as fair as possible".