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Spanish referees set to rely less on VAR

Update:

Medina Cantalejo was a fine referee in his day and replaces another solid match official in Velasco Carballo as head of the Spanish referee board. Carballo will always be remembered as the individual who was instrumental in the implementation of the VAR system. A discreet man and even after a series of conversations with him, I could never quite tell if he was an advocator of the initiative despite his stout defense of its use. I recall fondly the time he dedicated in holding group sessions with journalists explaining with great detail the nuances of the VAR system and informing us as to when it should be called upon with a series of well presented case studies.

13/12/21 REAL FEDERACION ESPAÑOLA DE FUTBOL  RFEF PRESENTACION OFICIAL DE LUIS MEDINA CANTALEJO COMO NUEVO PRESIDENTE DEL COMITE TECNICO DE ARBITROS
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13/12/21 REAL FEDERACION ESPAÑOLA DE FUTBOL RFEF PRESENTACION OFICIAL DE LUIS MEDINA CANTALEJO COMO NUEVO PRESIDENTE DEL COMITE TECNICO DE ARBITROSCHEMA DIAZDIARIO AS

Countless VAR repetitions

Minimal intervention with maximum impact was very much the message from Carballo and VAR was to intervene only when clear and blatant errors had been detected. Things changed after the Rulli-Vinicius penalty incident at the Bernabéu back in 2019 and an apparent call from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to Spanish FA chief Rubiales seemed to be instrumental in moving the goalposts as those in the VOR booth would then act in an over-zealous manner watching repetitions on a countless number of times and detecting incidents that none of us saw at the first time of asking. A perfect example of this is the penalty given to Atletico in October of this year against Levante. Velasco Carballo has been key in trying to avoid these situations occurring recently and this would go some way in explaining why Soto Grande avoided awarding Villarreal a spot kick last month n the game vs. Villarreal when Pique appeared to handle the ball.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Leeds United - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - December 11, 2021 Pending VAR decision for a penalty displayed on the big screen REUTERS/David Klein
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Leeds United - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - December 11, 2021 Pending VAR decision for a penalty displayed on the big screen REUTERS/David KleinDAVID KLEINREUTERS

Intervention

The question at the heart of the VAR use is very much: "where do we draw the line". Everyone in the game supports the use of 'hawk-eye' to detect if the ball has crossed the line but many of us have issues with the establishing of a line to detect an offside decision and the use of terminology such as 'clear and manifest' seem to do nothing to quell fans furious with refereeing decisions. New appointment Medina steps into the position with the right intentions and to be less reliant on use of video technology but the essential problem will still remain. It's not a matter if VAR intervenes more or indeed less but it's a question of when it should do so and that is an almost position to clarify.