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VAR, referees and decision-making


The non-penalty penalty given at the Bernabéu is yet another example of how unclear the situation is when it comes to VAR or no VAR. It is understandable that referee Hernández Hernández's first impression (conditioned, moreover, by his trumpeting comeback at the Bernabéu) was that it was spot kick. But the slow-mo replay reveals that it’s clear simulation by Casemiro. And what about VAR?

Well, the Video Assistant Referee, alas, clashes with the protocol, because if there is contact (and there is as Casemiro forces it), the on-field referee's decision is accepted. And in any case it could be argued that it is not a 'clear and obvious’ error… but where do we draw the line on 'clear and obvious’? For the Valencia fans, this wasn’t it.

VAR protocols and credibility

Oh the protocols! With the goal disallowed against Barça we saw another example of their absurdity. In the move there is a slick pass by Gavi which saw a player offside. The linesman doesn't signal because the protocol recommends that he waits and only raises the flag if the move ends with a goal. After a couple of exchanges, the move is finished off with a header from De Jong, who is set up well, and it is then that the flag, the one held back several seconds earlier, goes up.

VAR reviewed and the goal was disallowed for that earlier offside, which the linesman should have signalled for but did not do so due to protocol. The end result: a late and ridiculous disallowed goal and, therefore, a decision that doesn’t feel very credible.

And now we look back at Sunday, where we continued our game of bingo. Betis were outraged (even that saintly Job going by the name of Pellegrini) by two incidents. Muñiz Ruiz was so stunned when he saw blood on Isi's head that he changed the yellow for a red card; he hadn't stopped play, he hadn't seen 'serious foul play' which is what actually would get him sent off. Then there was a clear handball by Catena, which he either didn't see or was blocked. And where was VAR? Is this not when it gets involved? In La Cerámica we also have the rebound-goal by Parejo after the penalty, where something was identified that nobody had seen or protested. This incomprehensible and inconsistent refereeing is seeing a loss of faith from both players and fans alike.