A-League tweaks VAR rules in hope for fewer interventions in controversial trial

A-League chiefs have moved to end hysteria around the world-first Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) trial, tweaking interpretations of the rules which should result in far fewer interventions.- MelbourneTv

Tinkering with the VAR

  • VARs should only intervene when there is a clear/obvious error or a missed incident by the on-field referee
  • VAR to use a high threshold for intervention on fouls
  • VAR to focus on match-changing situations

Fans and players have fumed over the system, under which contentious decisions and missed incidents are reviewed by a fifth official in the stands through video replays.

Long delays and poor application of the guidelines have plagued the league, as seen in red cards to Jake McGing and Wout Brama in Central Coast’s 2-0 loss to Western Sydney.

Sydney FC’s title-winning captain Alex Brosque captured the sentiment perfectly this week, saying it also toyed with emotions.

“Scoring a goal, you can’t celebrate properly as fans or players because you’ve got to wait two or three minutes before it actually gets given … you want the game to flow and, if a goal is scored, for the emotions to take over,” he said.

“The less you see the VAR get involved in matches, the better.”

From this weekend, Brosque will get his wish.

A memo issued to clubs says video referees should not “go looking for infringements that are by definition not match changing”.

VARs should only get involved in obvious mistakes or missed incidents, with a high threshold of intervention and a focus on match-changing situations.

Video referees have also been stripped of the power to suggest changing yellow-card decisions to dismissals where the on-field referee has issued a caution.

Off-the-ball incidents will still be looked at.

In tweaking the system, the memo acknowledges the changes “are not completely in line with the trial protocol” agreed with FIFA for the trial.

But the weight of criticism — bordering on abuse — from an already small fanbase has forced FFA’s hand.

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