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SportWomen's World Cup 2019: Use of VAR becoming a fiasco for tournament officials

20:10  20 june  2019
20:10  20 june  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Women's World Cup 2019: Use of VAR becoming a fiasco for tournament officials© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

The one thing VAR definitely has over the use of instant replay in established American sports leagues is a cool acronym. The NFL has been checking officials’ calls using video review for more than three decades. We just called it “replay,” which isn’t interesting at all.

The Video Assistant Referee in soccer is so new that legendary English official Howard Webb was giving a lecture on the process during Major League Soccer’s All-Star celebration just two years ago, and it wasn’t employed at a FIFA World Cup until last summer.

And already it's working dreadfully enough that VAR actually might stand for Video Assailing Reality.

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Three times at this month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, VAR has been deployed to penalize goalkeepers for moving forward from the goal line before the ball was struck by the penalty taker. In two of those cases — Nigeria’s goalkeeper against France and Scotland’s keeper against Argentina — the move away from the line was a fraction of an inch, at best.

In the kick struck by France’s Wendie Renard against Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie, the ball traveled wide of the goal, so the keeper’s actions had little to no impact on the play. And still, Renard got a second chance.

It's madness.

"If I give you my honest feelings, they’ll probably send me home,” Nigeria coach Thomas Dennerby told the media afterward. “So it’s better I don’t say anything.”

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ESPN analyst mocked the decision on Twitter, saying, “So this is what we are doing now? Really?”

Scotland keeper Lee Alexander didn’t appear to be in front of the line at all when defending against the first Argentina penalty, and still VAR was deployed to say she’d fouled and a re-take was necessary.

Fox Sports analyst Christie Rampone tweeted the new law regarding a keeper’s positioning on penalties is “ruining” the game for players at that position.

It’s such a fiasco, it’s already being reported that when England's Premier League employs VAR for the first time this autumn, it will not be used to measure whether a goalkeeper has left his line prior to the penalty kick being struck. The referees on the field must make that decision live.

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World soccer took a very long time to incorporate some use of this technology into its various competitions. When MLS began using VAR late in its 2017 season, it was one of the first major domestic leagues to use replay.

Webb gave a sort of seminar on the top to reporters before its implementation and said this: “It’s important that people know we’re not going to deal with the 50/50 calls or the 70/30 calls. And we’re not asking the VAR to ask himself or herself the question: Was the decision right? They’re going to ask the question: Was the decision clearly wrong?"

That standard appeared to be the rule when VAR was introduced at the FIFA World Cup last summer in Russia. The use of replay was so seamless, so streamlined, it was a lesson to American officials who’ve been using the technology far longer on the standard that should be applied and how to concisely and accurately apply it.

But VAR has not been used in the same fashion at the Women’s World Cup. Its misapplication cost Scotland a shot at advancing to the knockout stages of the tournament. It may yet do the same with Nigeria.

It’s definitely been a stain on the Women’s World Cup.

The athletes and their fans deserve better.

Related Slideshow: Best of the 2019 Women's World Cup (Provided by imagn)

Women's World Cup 2019: Use of VAR becoming a fiasco for tournament officials

Women's World Cup 2019: Megan Rapinoe says she'll be ready for final after sitting out vs. England with injury.
Rapinoe explained what it was like to watch from the bench when many expected her to be on the pitch. "It's just energy and confidence," Rapinoe said. "I feel like when we're on the bench that's all it is. You need to just be hyped for the team and where you can give those little tidbits but really give that energy. It's not all the time they're coming over but there's VAR decisions and you know breaks in the game and just giving that energy and getting those vibes out there." Rapinoe gave the U.S.

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