May 7, 2018 / 7:45 AM / 20 days ago

Soccer-Australia coach suggests VAR on appeal after A-League gaffe

SYDNEY, May 7 (Reuters) - Australia coach Bert van Marwijk has suggested that soccer take a lead from tennis on the use of technology in the game in the wake of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) debacle at the Australian championship game last weekend.

The experienced Dutch coach will lead the Socceroos to the World Cup finals next month in Russia, where VAR will be used for the first time at international soccer’s showpiece event.

The A-League was the first professional league in the world to use the technology last year but all has not gone well.

A season studded with controversies culminated in a stunning embarrassment when it broke down during the final last Saturday, allowing a clear offside in the lead-up to the only goal of the game to go unchallenged.

Van Marwijk, who was at the match, said he thought the use of technology stifled debate about controversial incidents and that a system similar to tennis, cricket or American football, where technology is used upon request, might be better.

“You know, it’s very difficult, a video referee,” he told a news conference in Sydney on Monday after unveiling his preliminary World Cup squad.

“I understand that you try to change the rules to make it better but we have to keep the charming things of football.

“Maybe you can think about giving both teams, one or two maybe three, possibilities to ask the video referee.

“I understand that there will be change and that (it) is also in the (World Cup) but I don’t think that we don’t discuss anymore situations when we have a video referee.”

An appeals system would also reduce the number of lengthy interruptions to the game caused by the referee feeling he has to check every single episode, van Marwijk added.

“Now the referee decides on behalf of what he sees, or what he hears. ‘I’m going to watch the video’,” he said.

“In tennis it’s different, the players themselves can decide when you ask the video ref.”

Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Sunday they were working with Hawk-Eye, the company which provides the technology both for soccer’s VAR and the tennis review system, to ensure problems like Saturday’s would not happen again. (Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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