still right in the spotlight after FA Cup no-show
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[April 24, 2018]
By Peter Hall
LONDON (Reuters) - Introduced to
provide help for under pressure referees, the role of Video
Assistant Referees (VAR) still remains unclear after more questions
over consistency arose at Wembley on Sunday.
With Southampton trailing Chelsea 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final,
referee Martin Atkinson blew for a foul on Chelsea goalkeeper Willy
Caballero moments before he appeared to drop the ball over his
The VAR was not consulted and the decision to award Chelsea, who
went on to win the game 2-0, a free kick stood, much to the
annoyance of Southampton manager Mark Hughes.
"We're disappointed with the officials," Hughes said. "It was a
match-defining moment. Who knows how the game might have followed
from that moment?"
VAR will be used throughout the World Cup in Russia this year after
FIFA's rule-making panel voted to write VARs into the laws of
"I was skeptical at the beginning but without trying things you
can't know what they are worth," FIFA President Gianni Infantino
"That's why we carried out trials in those 1,000 matches. There are
facts: referees make one important mistake one in every three, with
VAR it is every 19."
England coach Gareth Southgate was less optimistic of VAR's success
in Russia after Italy were awarded a last-minute penalty in a
friendly last month, with German referee Deniz Aytekin changing his
decision after being advised by the VAR to watch a replay.
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General view of the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system Action
Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
"I'm glad it's not the World Cup just yet," Southgate said. "I think
the ruling is 'clear and obvious' and it's not. It's one you can
debate all day."
The latest setback centers around why VAR was not consulted at all
in a competition that has provided a testing-ground for it this
"If ever there was a situation for VAR to play a hand and step in to
review that was it," Hughes added.
VAR was not employed in either FA Cup semi-final this weekend which
is surprising given that 10 separate decisions were reviewed in the
last Cup match at Wembley - Tottenham Hotspur's fifth-round replay
VAR will not be used in the Premier League next season after clubs
voted against it and the system remains very much unproven with the
World Cup sure to bring up further issues about its value.
(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond)
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