If only every VAR decision was as clear-cut as Joaquín's goal...
Last night's Copa del Rey clash was a delight to watch, a classic full blooded cup tie. Betis went two goals ahead against a Valencia side who reused to roll over ended up securing a creditable 2-2 draw. Four well taken goals with an "Olympic goal" to boot. A goal scored straight from a corner is a rarity in the modern game and a goal christened by Argentina in 1924 when they scored from the corner flag against the, then Olympic champions Uruguay. These strikes from the corner have given way to those goals provoke plenty of debate as to whether the ball crossed the line or not, leading to the inevitable hours of debate which we seemed to have addressed with goal-line technology and now with the VAR system.
Joaquin's strike crossed the line and this was confirmed by VAR official Estrada Fernández and referee Del Cerro Grande subsequently awarded the Betis goal after initially being hesitant as to whether the ball had crossed the line or not. We've still yet to introduce goal-line technology in the Spanish gane and that's something I hope the governing bodies address sooner rather than later. Subsequent repeats did however confirm that the ball had completely crossed the goal-line despite Jaume Domenech's best efforts to claw the ball away from the goal. It was a legitimate strike and thanks to the use of technology, no-one protested. I hope that will always be the case and also hope that each time we look to technology in the game it can paint such a transparent picture but I fear that will not always be possible.
The news broke yesterday that UEFA's head of refereeing Roberto Rosetti has requested that Spain uses the VAR system with greater frequency. The word from "above" was that they system only be consulted in general to resolve black or white issues and avoid those 'grey' areas. There has been some debate in the ongoing season as to when exactly the VAR system should be called upon. Rosetti's instruction coincides with what former ref. and now media pundit Iturralde has been foreseeing, that over time there will be greater flexibility in calling upon the VAR assistant. It is also worth remembering that this is still the first season that we've used technology in LaLiga and at present there are more positives than negatives that can be attributed to the use of VAR in the domestic league and Joaquin's "Olympic goal" epitomises this.