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Question Number: 32906

League Specific 12/4/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32905

Great feedback from all three panelist regarding the question on penalty to not in the A-League match.

I had also thought about PIADM, but It didn't feel like the reason why the penalty was awarded (it felt more due to bringing the attacker down) but the PIADM aspect was very well explained by the panel and good food for thought.

Ref Wright mentions 'other' VAR decisions elsewhere in the A-League round.

I suspect, he may have been referring to this one.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell,
personally I do not think it a valid use of the VAR at all, there was NO intent to stud up, it occurs after the energy is spent. The extended leg was to stop and get up , not lock in the intercepting player, look how far from the ball it occurs? It was a lunge to get the ball with accidental implications. It was not a stud up challenge for ball possession. Just a terrible decision flat out wrong! Certainly a trip foul missed but a red card for that is utter garbage!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
I think this situation throws up the problem of watching replays using video.
It is difficult to sense the intensity from a video. Throw in some theatrics by an 'injured' player and it can look worse than it was
When considering whether a challenge merits a red card the referee has to consider many factors. Here are just some
Does the player act without precaution when making the challenge?
Does the player make fair or unfair contact with the opponent after touching the ball?
Does the player act with complete disregard of the danger to his opponent?
Does the player act with a complete disregard of the consequences for his opponent?
Does the player have a chance of playing the ball in a fair manner?
Is the challenge putting an opponent in a dangerous situation?
Does the player touch the ball after making contact with the opponent?
Does the player far exceed the necessary use of force when making the challenge?
Does the player use brutality against an opponent when challenging?
Is the challenge clearly endangering the safety of the opponent?
What degree of speed and/or intensity is the player using when making the challenge?
Does the player show clear malice when making the challenge?
Does the player lunge at an opponent from the front, from the side or from behind?
Does the player use his studs when making a tackle?
On which part of the opponent's body is contact made?
In what direction are the tackler's feet pointing?
Is the player challenging for the ball at the moment the contact is made?

If we look at the video in isolation, circumstances come together in a way that makes this look worse than it was. It is likely that the VAR saw the two feet together of the challenger which is never a good position to be in yet it was not two footed in the sense of what we understand to be such a tackle. It just happened due to other other actions.
I also think that when a referee is asked by a senior VAR official to review a decision human nature has the ability to escalate the decision into something more than what it is. The referee looks at this and sees the outcome which is both feet making contact with an opponent and then might be asked why he did not see such a challenge as ticking all the conditions of a red card and only issued a caution.
Obviously those that reviewed the decision did not see enough to overturn the red card decision which says something as well.
In my view this was not a red card offence. It perhaps had some of the ingredients to get there but that did not happen.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,
That was certainly one of them! Though of course the player who received a 2nd yellow card for eye gouging in a melee (Mauk) after the ref appeared to have a discussion with the VAR was....confusing.

I do think this was the wrong decision - and the A-League boss came out and said it was the wrong decision.
The force used was minimal and proportionate to the challenge - he doesn't go several yards through his opponent. He barely even reaches the opponent. So the force isn't excessive, and I don't see any way the opponent was put at risk here.

Watchin the video, the player's studs seem to get caught in the turf (can't think of any other reason why his foot would stop like that). Momentum would naturally spring it forward, explaining why he would up with studs out like that. This isn't a player who didn't control his challenge because he ran in too fast on wet ground and slid into an opponent at high speed - it looked like one of those freak, unpredictable things. I don't really see how you could hold the player responsible here.

Now, some argue that the end flick-out was deliberate. Now if it was, sure, that would be enough for a red card. And while we all know that referees aren't judging intent - we also know that we are; a late action that looks deliberate will be treated more harshly. But, even if one takes the approach that it was cynical, there still has to be enough doubt that it can't constitute a 'clear and obvious' error.

Those not following the A-League might be interested to know that we had a few incidents early in the season when the VAR intervened when it probably shouldn't have, so the HAL boss said that they're lifting the bar for when VAR intervenes (presumably, that means the VAR is simply being reminded what 'clear and obvious' means), and since then there's been some criticisms that it may have gone too far the other way. Well, here's a case where VAR shouldn't have intervened.

Personally, I don't think it should have reached an on-field review - but it's interesting to note that there has only been one single incident when an on-field review occurred and the decision wasn't overturned. Read into that what you will.

This decision was made very quickly - in fact, there are 40 seconds between the referee's first viewing, and the showing of the red card.

It's also interesting that the referee didn't think it was a foul at first - there was a slightly delayed flag by the AR coupled with a player rolling around on the ground that triggered the initial free kick decision. The player were fine with just a free kick.

Personally, I don't think this could be a better example of incorrect VAR use. It's a great example of re-refereeing the match. It wasn't a significant incident, it was a minor tackle (barely a foul) that didn't warrant VAR intervention. Nobody wanted a closer look at it, the game and incident certainly didn't need it - but the ref in the bunker doesn't seem to have taken that into account and has overstepped the mark in trying to find something. The ongoing challenge for the VAR referees is to ensure that they don't step in when it's not needed.

Though of course, the ref didn't have to give the red card - but it appears that he's only seen slow motion replays. Now, the ref could, as I understand, have communicated back to the VAR room to provide some regular speed replays - but the slow motion replays make it look far worse than it was. It's not the first time there's been an incorrect VAR decision after the referee has only reviewed the incident in slow-motion. Which makes one wonder - why aren't the referees being shown full speed replays as part of the review, along with slow motion replays? And are the referees being adequately trained to consider how slow motion changes the look of an incident?

This one couldn't have gone more wrong. As for the suspension standing - the policy there is that there needs to be a unanimous decision of the Match Review Panel that the offence wouldn't have earned any card at all. So, if one person thinks that it just might, possibly have been worthy of a yellow, it doesn't get overturned. Unfortunately that simply compounds the error here.

VAR leads the headlines all too often after a week of football in Australia, unfortunately.

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