Imagine the following situation: It is 15 June and Spain are leading Portugal 1-0 in their World Cup match in Sochi. Cristiano Ronaldo is one-on-one with David De Gea in the 89th minute. There are suspicions of offside, but the linesman has been instructed to keep his flag down if in doubt. Play continues. Sergio Ramos sprints back, fouls Ronaldo, and is sent off. The Video Assistant Referee [VAR] later finds that Ronaldo was indeed offside and, as a result, that phase of play is annulled. But Ramos’ card is not. Spain are down to ten men and Ramos is suspended for the next match. If that situation has riled you, imagine how it would rile Ramos and Julen Lopetegui.
Velasco Carballo to deliver VAR lessons
The Spanish FA (RFEF) have asked ex-referee Carlos Velasco Carballo to speak to the Spain squad at their Las Rozas base about how VAR works before they travel to Russia for the World Cup. The intention is that the players will have a full understanding of the theory behind VAR.
Velasco Carballo, 47, officiated at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Euros in France. He has since retired and is the only Spaniard who sits on the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body that determines the laws of the game and the application of VAR.
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui is aware of the impact VAR could have on the World Cup, particularly when it comes to the psychological effects of play stopping and starting.
Lopetegui stated in an in-depth interview with AS that he will make sure his players are prepared for the influence of VAR. By bringing in Velasco Carballo, he is taking no chances.