MILAN (AP) The introduction of video review in Serie A was meant to eliminate controversial decisions. However, debate continues to rumble on after the first weekend using the new technology.
The video assistant referee, or VAR, helped referees on several decisions in the opening games of the season:
– Awarding a penalty to Cagliari in its defeat at Juventus
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– Allowing Napoli’s opening goal in its victory over Hellas Verona
– In AC Milan’s win at Crotone
– Twice in Inter Milan’s victory over Fiorentina.
”I like the VAR,” Crotone coach Davide Nicola said. ”Today it went against us, tomorrow it could help us. It’s right to use it, you accept refereeing decisions better.”
But not all the decisions were accepted as calmly.
Giovanni Simeone went down under a challenge by Miranda but Fiorentina’s penalty appeals were waved away by referee Paolo Tagliavento after consultation with the VAR.
”I thought that, seeing as there was doubt, maybe Tagliavento should have gone and looked at the images himself,” Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli said. ”I think, looking at the images, there was a foul by Miranda.”
Simeone himself said he felt it was a penalty, while club manager Giancarlo Antognoni accused Tagliavento of disrespecting Fiorentina as he didn’t review the incident personally.
Video replays are being used to confirm or deny game-changing decisions involving four situations: Penalties being awarded, red cards, cases of mistaken identity, and goals.
The referee can either make a judgment on the VAR’s advice or review the incident himself on pitchside monitors.
It still has limitations as officials get used to the new system. Torino saw a last-minute winner at Bologna ruled out for a phantom offside but the decision could not be corrected by the referee as he had already stopped play before the ball was in the back of the net.
”The referee certainly made a mistake … they ruled out a valid goal,” Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic said. ”His first mistake was being the only one out of 19,000 people not to have seen that the ball to (Andrea) Belotti came from (Bologna’s Mattia) Destro and not from Tomas Rincon.
”Then he should have let the move finish and, in that case, use the VAR. If he had done that, he would have given the goal, so he made two mistakes.”
What was absent from the pitch was the unwelcome sight of players surrounding the referee and complaining. Instead, they waited calmly, while the referee consulted with the VAR.
”The introduction of the VAR will help not to aggravate everyone, it will make it so that everyone – including spectators – will react calmly to every type of decision made by the referee,” Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said. ”If technology was needed to improve sportsmanship, then it is welcome. We shouldn’t fear it.”
Despite its teething problems, the man in charge of the system in Italy was happy with its debut.
”It was the dawn of a new day and it was a good start,” former referee Roberto Rosetti said. ”We need to continue working but it is an irreversible process, which will be improved.
”Every change foresees a phase of adaptation, it foresees fine-tuning of the procedures, also the time taken has to be shaved down and improved. There is a very precise aim: To have a game which is more just, and eliminate important mistakes.”