Adelaide: The head of Australia’s A-League is hoping international football authorities will allow video-assisted referee (VAR) decisions to be shown on television broadcasts and on stadium video boards so that the often contentious calls don’t seem like a “silent movie”.
Greg O’Rourke says the A-League is working with Germany’s Bundesliga and Major League Soccer in the US to push for communication of the VAR process in stadiums.
“American sport and Australian sport have been used to, for many years, the referees being able to talk in-stadia,” O’Rourke said. He said existing protocols “don’t allow currently the VAR to talk in-stadia or even to the commentators, it’s a bit of a silent movie. Then what happens ... is the fan is left to try and interpret why — they’re just left to their own devices.”
Fifa is the sport’s world governing body, and the International Football Association Board, which includes four Fifa members, formulates the laws and protocols, including future developments of the VAR.
The VAR was criticised twice on the opening weekend in the A-League, both when reviews resulted in penalties being awarded.
Melbourne Victory lost 2-1 to Melbourne City when Bruno Fornaroli’s seemingly innocuous tumble earned a VAR-awarded penalty for City.
It was a similar situation in Wellington, New Zealand, where the Phoenix benefited from a late penalty after Mitch Nichols was taken down well off the ball. The subsequent spot kick sealed his team’s 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets.