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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33900

Law 5 - The Referee 2/25/2020

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33899

As with everyones's view on the similar question from Peter Babbage of Hjorring, Denmark (his being a seemingly deliberate handling not given), I feel there is a deliberate tactic by PGMOL to let the VAR ref take the heat as opposed to the on field official.

It is just my view, however, I pose that it is an easy out to let a (generally) less known official wear the heat, then the on field official.

I'd suggest that PGMOL are clever in using the 'defection' technique so often used by well known Managers (I'm looking at you Jose) in taking the heat away from the on field officials and deflecting it elsewhere - to officials that are not seen, and therefore are less likely to suffer the by-product of fan displeasure (i.e. criticism that among other things gets [sadly] far too 'personal').

While unbelievably frustrating, the emotions the crowd could work themselves up into at an on field official could be potentially dangerous, whereas (I'd suggest - by way of human nature) - while equally as frustrating, by deflecting the issue to a person far removed, unseen and possibly unknown - stadium emotions may be just a little less heated, and therefore less potential trouble for security etc.

Sure that is a leap from A to B, however, not entirely out of the equation.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
It's an interesting theory - however I'm not sure I really buy into it. I think it hints at a somewhat conspiratorial type of reasoning that for starters, requires assuming a bunch of facts that are not in evidence and so I have a fairly fundamental problem with it.

It would for instance, require us to believe that a whole cadre of top level referees have gone along with the idea that they are going to see offences and deliberately not call them (or call them wrongly) just so someone else can make the call and they can avoid a bit of earache from some of the more voluble managers. That would go completely against the grain of everything they've done throughout their careers to get where they are today so as I say, it just doesn't ring true to me and more importantly, there's no actual evidence for it that I'm aware of.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russel,
I am not a fan of the VAR yet I grasp the rational. The LOTG are so disingenuous as to intent now and milli-microns of distance for offside on the edge of a razor blade . Officials simply can not judge with certainty in close situations . Hence wide view freeze frame video tech allows that pause to look closer All a referee or AR can do is let play go on as often as possible unless 100% convinced to stop it. If VAR oversteps or overreaches as you say anger has to be directed at something lol

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
That view would not be supported by what has actually happened.
The Premier League met with PGMOL in November 2019 and the policy of using the Referee Review Area was discussed and it was confirmed that it would be reserved for unseen incidents, or when information from the VAR is outside the expectation range of the referee.

The clubs want to ensure that the pace and tempo of Premier League football remains an important focus for clubs. The core principles of VAR were reiterated at the meeting. These are minimum interference for maximum benefit, maintaining the pace and tempo of the game and correcting clear and obvious on-field errors.

I personally believe that clubs cannot have it both ways. They do not want on pitch reviews except for red cards and unseen incidents and as a result it is then left to a VAR official who is somewhat removed from the game to make calls and to advise on monitor reviews. There no doubt are collateral benefits in that approach yet also negatives. For me the red card and the handling incidents if they were dealt with properly at the time would not have had the negative fall out afterwards and it sort of brings into question the decision making of the referee on the day both to miss the situation in the first place and to not manage it correctly subsequently.
So it is not premeditated or clever by PGMOL yet just a consequence of what what agreed at a meeting of the clubs and PGMOL and more than likely unforeseen.
I believe that VAR needs to be changed and improved. For instance it just does not sit well with me that a goal can be ruled out at one end and a penalty awarded at the other end with goal celebrations at one end turning to goal celebrations at the other end as in the recent Burnley game.
I think tighter protocols need to be put in place such as a simple one of stopping the game in a neutral zone after a possible penalty call and if it is not called then to give the ball back on a dropped ball. Case in point was the Burnley incident. I believe the AR must have seen it yet deferred to VAR rather than flagging for it. I would rather see the AR flag, get it wrong and a dropped ball if wrong rather than a goal at the other end being chalked off or in the Spurs red card incident for the referee to look at it rather than defer to a VAR official for his opinion.

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