I’m at a loss after Monday’s game between Portugal and Iran. Enrique Caceres had a very poor game.
He lost control of the game early on, not once did he stamp his authority on the match and as soon as he lost control, the match descended into chaos from a refereeing viewpoint.
I think VAR will benefit in the long run, but at the moment, there is nowhere near enough training and education, the referees are not following the protocall, and most importantly they’re not working to within the framework of the game that the IFAB set.
Ronaldo’s reckless use of the arm in the second half is a yellow card offence, however, this should not have been refereed to VAR.
He uses his arm to get the Iranian player out of the way in a reckless manner, therefore I agree with the decision that was made, however, a cautionable offence cannot be recommended for review by VAR. Obviously, the VAR thought it was a red card offence.
Secondly, the penalty for Iran, where do I start?
Simply, it’s a farce.
Let’s go back to basics, Law 12, that every single referee is aware of: Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm.
The following must be considered:
• The movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand).
• The distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball).
• The position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence.
It has to be a deliberate act of a player, with his arm showing a clear movement towards the ball.
Was there any deliberate movement towards the ball? No, the player is less than a meter away attempting to head the ball as it goes over his head.
Irrespective of where his arms are, it doesn’t mean to say that an offence has occurred.
Put simply Enrique Caceres and the VAR officials in Moscow haven’t followed Law 12. That’s basic refereeing – what if Iran had scored in the last minute – Portugal would have been out and VAR would be the only thing to blame.
The referee and VAR officials did get Ronaldo’s penalty appeal correct in the first half, so did Rebekah Vardy on BetBright’s social channels (she made the decision before the referee did).
There’s the old cliché that if you ‘didn’t notice’ the referee then that was a sign that he had a good game – but it feels like VAR has made that the polar opposite and, as such, now we’re in a place where the most watched competition on the planet is essentially an experiment for this new technology – and the referees are the focus of it.
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