Sunday 19 January 2020

UEFA boss wants refs to make have final say on VAR

A referee consults with VAR using a pitch-side monitor
A referee consults with VAR using a pitch-side monitor

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insists referees have to be given the final say on decisions rather than someone "hidden in a van or a building 500 kilometres from the venue".

The Slovenian called the VAR system in its current form "a mess" in a British newspaper interview and has called for greater clarity around handball and offside decisions.

His main concern seems to be some of the marginal offside calls that cannot be detected by the naked eye, with decisions coming after lengthy reviews.


While he did not directly criticise the Premier League, which advises referees to use pitchside monitors sparingly and instead be guided in most circumstances by the remote VAR, he did indicate his belief that referees should be allowed to take responsibility.

His comments came a day after former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, now chief of global football development at world governing body FIFA, called on the Premier League to let referees make greater use of pitchside monitors.

"The idea of UEFA referees' committee is that it's always the decision of the referee on the pitch," Ceferin said.

"The referees on the pitch have to take responsibility and not some people hidden somewhere in a van or in a building 500 kilometres from the venue. Referees should decide.

"I know UEFA doesn't have as many interventions as other leagues have, and if you see the approach of different leagues it's quite confusing. In the Premier League they don't check at all, in Italy they check every time almost."


Ceferin says UEFA's view on VAR is that it should be used for clear and obvious mistakes only.

"I can live with uncertainty and I can live with the fact that referees are human beings who make mistakes," he said.

"But now where technology makes a mistake that's a bigger problem, and we still don't know which handball is handball, we don't know who is drawing the lines, how thick the lines are.

"Is it the meaning of offside that if you are in an offside position of one centimetre, is that enough? Does it change the game?

"There are many questions ahead.

"I would prefer football to stay as close as possible as it is for hundreds of years."

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