From the moment Mark Geiger was appointed as the referee for England v Columbia, I had fears that he was not a strong enough referee to handle the South Americans.
I was right.
As a referee you get that chance early in the game to stamp your authority on a game, and he did not do that. Once you don’t do that, players know you have a weak official.
Fans across the UK were in uproar about the Columbian’s behaviour, as was I.
However, the referee could have stamped this out by cautioning Mina early on. But the Columbia players took the law into their own hands and ultimately, they got away with it because of Mark Geiger’s approach to the game.
The VAR incident between Barrios and Henderson… I’m at a loss again with this.
Mark Geiger did not see the incident and so the Video Assistant Referees were clearly talking to him about it.
VAR cannot instruct him to give a yellow card.
It’s against the IFAB protocol!
This was a serious incident that was missed and what should have happened was that VAR should have recommended to the referee, Mark Geiger, to go to the VAR monitor and review the incident.
It would then be up to Mark to decide whether it is a red card or yellow card offence.
If the assistant recommended to Mark to give a yellow card then that would have been okay, but then VAR would have still had to get involved as this is a clear error by the match officials.
Put simply, in my opinion, it is a clear red card offence for violent conduct and that’s the decision that should have been made.
The problem I am seeing with VAR is that there are instances, such as this one, where the referees and VAR officials are going against the IFAB protocol, which is clearly wrong.
On this occasion, Mark Geiger and FIFA have got out of jail as the Columbian’s should have gone down to 10 men. But thanks to a spirited performance from the England boys we’ll see them in action again on Saturday – I don’t however, expect to see Mark Geiger appearing again in this World Cup as an on-field match official.
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Also published on Medium.