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VAR, Silva, and Galarreta's injury


I thought it was interesting the way Silva went off to the dressing room at halftime debating his handball with Munuera. I’m not taking sides, the penalty was saved by Remiro, but Silva wouldn’t let it lie with Munuera, who stood his ground, strenuously. Obviously, what referees (the current pick of the pops, Mateu Lahoz, was in the VOR room, so it was a case of “magister dixit” - the authority has spoken) consider handball is not handball for a lot of footballers. Time and again they’re surprised by penalties given when the ball hits (or brushes) their hand that ended up where it did naturally, with no illegitimate intention to place it there.

VAR didn't intervene after terrible tackle on Galarreta

For my part, I’m resigned to them deciding it’s handball when they want to. If Silva, with the career he’s had, can’t understand it, then who can? It does make me angry the way the VAR referees imperiously carry on, examining things in minute detail in an attempt to blame innocent hands or give offside for a hair’s width, yet missing far more important matters, such as the horrific challenge, with severe consequences, from Víctor Ruiz on Ruiz de Galarreta in the Betis-Mallorca game. A violent tackle from behind with the other leg thrown in for good measure at the end. The result: stretcher for Galarreta and yellow for Víctor Ruiz.

The incident led to a third cruciate ligament tear for Galarreta. Who knows when he’ll play again, but Soto Grado gave only a yellow. It’s understandable for a referee to misunderstand exactly what’s happened on the field of play, just blinking can change his perception. But for Estrada Fernández, who watched it on TV from a number of angles, to leave the decision unchanged astonishes me. The best thing we could use VAR for (and so stop them happening) would be to pursue these atrocities. But with VAR, refereeing has got lost in a forest of tiny details such as cataloging every which way a ball can hit a hand, and has forgotten what’s really important.


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