Tuesday January 30 2018
Which side VAR you on?

Video assistant referee technology would always have teething problems in Italy, admits Giancarlo Rinaldi, but let's look at the big picture.

Anyone who knows Italian football had little doubt it would end this way. The system that was supposed to finish controversy was caught in the eye of the storm over the weekend’s games in Serie A. If it was meant to put the conspiracy theories to bed, it was a case of so near and yet so VAR.

There were matches where the technology was not used when it probably should have been and instances where it was called upon and still seemed to get things wrong. It was all too much for many pundits - not long on patience anyway - to stand. “A black Sunday,” opined La Gazzetta while Tuttosport went further with “A nightmare Sunday”. The video assistant referee was about as popular as putting ham and pineapple on a pizza in Naples.

And, of course, the clubs which found themselves on the wrong end of a dubious decision were not slow to cry foul. Bologna’s Roberto Donadoni lamented the inconsistency over two penalty claims, Walter Zenga quipped that perhaps the TV screen was not working properly in Crotone, while Lazio supremo Claudio Lotito alleged his team would be top of Serie A without the instances where things had gone against his side. The cases of a persecution complex had become an epidemic.

It was hard, on reviewing the footage, not to have significant sympathy for the teams affected. They were all entitled to feel hard done by on the evidence of what we watched play out around the country at the weekend. But does that mean we should scrap the system? I’m not really inclined to believe it does.

I think the Corriere dello Sport perhaps summed up the situation best. “It’s like giving a smartphone to your grandfather,” it reckoned, which was a neat way to describe it. The question is not really about the technology, but rather about the humans who operate it and remain, quite clearly, fallible. The match officials have had to take on this whole new era overnight, which was bound to lead to some teething troubles. However, we really do need - quite literally - to see the bigger picture.

Watching this season in Italy, VAR has still got more decisions right than wrong - and by quite some distance. Offside goals which would previously have stood have been ruled out, penalties given in error have been taken back and nasty fouls which might have gone unpunished have received their more than merited red card. That has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

That’s not to belittle the pain suffered by the sides on the receiving end of obvious injustices - in fact, it is only likely to make it feel more acute. But, remember, this is Italy, where managers and Presidents know that a good conspiracy plays well with the fans. It also serves as a smokescreen to hide any shortcomings your own team might actually have. VAR is simply the latest in a long line of our pantomime villains.

The system is not perfect but, then again, what process designed and run by man ever was? I can’t bring myself to buy the portrayal of some plot in favour of certain sides or against others - at least not once I have calmed down from seeing a key decision go against my team.

There remains a subjective element to some VAR verdicts that we will never eliminate and other mistakes will probably still sneak through, but that doesn’t mean we should throw the technological baby out with the bathwater.

Clubs deserve an explanation of the most glaring blunders we have seen, of course, and every effort should be made to avoid them happening again. But we cannot - and should not - turn back the clock. If nothing else, it has given us all a new bogeyman to direct the finger of blame towards when the inevitable pain of defeat afflicts us.

Have your say...
VAR, when perfected, will be a real thorn in the side of all Juventus' rivals.
And have won everything under the sun fair and square!
LONG LIVE VAR, if implemented honestly!
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 3:49am
@Maldini’s Heir I don’t know how you can try to shove this under the carpet so carelessly? There was a gross miscarriage of justice that happened during the Calciopoli scandal! There was never really any clarity in the proceedings, Like Inter’s involvement that was hidden until the statue of limitations expired Whole of Italy rushed to punish one side which was Juventus only to tell the people two years after that Juve wasn’t guilty of anything serious! Not only that but come to find out teams like Milan, Lazio, and many others did the exact same thing as Juve and got a slap on the wrist. Now take into consideration Milan is a repeat offender for doing shady things and one starts to wonder what dealings in the background prevented justice to be performed. Having said that I don’t have a problem admitting that if by a non corrupt judiciary system Juve were found guilty of match fixing, cheating or anything worse than what was eventually said… Again I wouldn’t have a problem admitting Juve deserved to be punished and then to let it all go into the past!
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 2:24am
@ All the Snowflakes Yes Milan did the same. Can we move on?

@ juvenitini86 Moggi was charged as "the 'promoter' of the 'criminal conspiracy' that culminated in Calciopoli" and banned for life. It's not a good look is it? Now, as a Milan fan, I accept that Milan did some dodgy things. Could you just please accept Juve's dodgyness so we can all move on. It's embarrassing.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 1:21am
(on a "free" thanks to Raiola)

Let's hope that the "trequartista" will progress much better than Pellegri...........
And the same goes for Kean and Orsolini.

VAR will be a good thing for Serie A, if players can invoke it, not the referees.
on the 1st February, 2018 at 7:57am
var is great. But granpa still having hard time to use android.
Curtone handball goal, it's unintentional? Maybe.
He can be free then.
But, he lied. He said it was shoulder.
He then apologize, but still lie about his awarenes that he knew the ball hit his arm.
Liar from milan.

Now, a backpas usikg kick to donaruma,
He grab it with his hand. Wow.
That's different.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 9:50pm
VAR vs Thieves- Berna's handball was outside the box. His arm on slow mo is actually outside the box when it makes contact. This has been discussed a hundred times already, and even the Refs on the post match shows all said the same thing in a non partisan way.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 9:12pm
Maldini's Heir - You're not making a point but making us look bad you fool. Why would you post transcripts of only ONE team? How about Milan and their calls to the ref designate?, or Lazio or Inter, or half the league??. I don't need a 10 post response from you either. You're boring enough.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 9:10pm
I am personally 100% with the use of VAR. However, the refs need to be intelligent enough to know how and when to use it. We've all seen examples of how Lazio have been conned out of results due to the refs not being able to decide if VAR should be used or not. Forget the Napoli results.....
on the 31st January, 2018 at 9:08pm

Even then, moaners will moan.

Picture this. Juve has a (insert tech company) sponsorship.
A computerized VAR decision goes our way.

"Juve are using hacking software to alter the final decision of VAR".

Hell, even without sponsorship, accusations like that are guaranteed to surface.

It will never ever end.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 7:40pm
VAR could evolve to the point where you don't need partisan humans to make the final decisions.
Although the system programmers would have to be complete strangers to football.
Preferably a group of geeks who don't follow any kind of sport, being therefore totally unbiased.
Then if there still is the odd mistake at least we could all put it down to sheer bad luck.
With the 2 teams being able to invoke the use of the VAR a maximum of 3 times each during the course of a match.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 4:12pm
@Al Dino

What im curious about it how you managed to post such long post.. hmm
on the 31st January, 2018 at 2:54pm
hahaha @ Maldini's Heir

The last person who should talk about match-fixing is a Milan fan.

Your club was charged with actual match-fixing TWICE.

Totonero 1980 anyone?

Yes, Juve/Moggi tried to influence referee choices which is terrible of course. But at least Juve was never charged with actual match-fixing.

Worry about you club, Maldini.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 1:39pm
@ Edward Mcandrew

You said that Juve is synonymous with "match-fixing".

It has been shown to you that Juve were not charged with the legal article related to "match-fixing". Like Milan and inter. Juve were punished for other offenses.

Do I need to bring a blackboard and explain it to you further?

You are just one of those "fans" who take things at face value and believe what they hear.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 1:34pm
VAR has been working just as many have expected it to work in Italy. Getting some decisions right while creating even more controversy at the same time.
VAR needs time and patience.

However, what is happening to Lazio is baffling. I mean Lotito is a scumbag but the team and Simeone deserve better.
on the 31st January, 2018 at 1:29pm
nobody's arguing that maybe club officials shouldn't have such access to ref's, Juve fans are arguing that everybody was doing it (Inter and Milan more so than anybody else) and one club was literally scapegoated and now others who did the same- and then some- are pretending like it was only Juventus and they were the victims the whole time. I would argue that Juvents fans are the only ones not in denial. If milan was just a victim in 06 mister Heir explain to me why that title isn't theirs now?
on the 31st January, 2018 at 1:28pm
do Milan fans really have such selective memories that they don't remember being punished for the same thing at the same time? do Inter fans chose not to know about Facchettis relationships with the refs? just because a statute of limitations passes and you can't be punished for what you did doesn't mean it didn't happen in the first place
on the 31st January, 2018 at 1:17pm
i aggree @Maldini's Heir, we should move on and not drag it out with further silly denials that Inter and Milan didn't do the same and even worse (actual article 6 violations).
on the 31st January, 2018 at 1:14pm
@Maldini's Heir
Pretty damning if Moggi was even charged with match-fixing.
Got any more?
on the 31st January, 2018 at 12:13pm
Dear Mr. Rinaldi,

As you can see by the comments to your blog our society is poisoned by suspicion and doubt. Var is a great idea perhaps almost flawless but you have the human factor and by explanation to err is human therefore no amount of technology will ever be sufficient enough to quench the suspicion and doubt about decisions made by referees. Especially in Italy where only two options exist if you make an honest mistake you are either incompetent therefore don’t deserve to be a ref or you are a cheat and therefore don’t deserve to be a ref. There is no third option in Italy and because the refs have no protection this leads to more mistakes! Also The simple fact that any decision can be interpreted in many different ways by different referees almost guarantees that there won’t be any consistency in using Var. Just look at the soft penalty Napoli got. (Please don’t take this as a sideswipe at Napoli its just the latest in many different decisions that have many versions of interpretation). Perhaps there are maybe two Refs. that would have awarded this penalty in the whole of Italy and one of them was on the field that day. Take any other Ref. and they wouldn’t have given this penalty even after reviewing VAR so that way you have teams that will always be hurt by decisions they deem to be unfair and there will always be those who will benefit. Today it’s Napoli, Tomorrow Juve, the day after it will be Milan or Roma therefore this question of yours will continue to have two sides those that hope it will help and those that know it won’t help!
on the 31st January, 2018 at 5:12am
... And there Rosetti. You know the guy ... But if we show him, what are we going to do?
Moggi: No, no, leave him alone ... just drop the Siena game.
Baldas: OK ... if I need a favour will you do me a favour?
Moggi: No problem.
Baldas: You'll call me back soon?
Moggi: Yup, soon.
Baldas: Fine, bye.
None of us want to re-live this. So how about we move on and not drag it out with further silly denials?
on the 31st January, 2018 at 3:30am
@ juvenitini86 Is this specific enough for you?
Baldas: How are you? Well?
Moggi: Good.
Baldas: Listen Luciano, today we haven't got much ... there is ... Rodomonti. Is it OK if we make him look bad? If you agree, of course ...
Moggi: Oh naturally.
Baldas: And then? And then? There's always Siena-Fiorentina..
Moggi: But was there a penalty?
Baldas: Er...., yes, there was a penalty!
on the 31st January, 2018 at 3:29am
It's 2018. Of course we need VAR. No system is perfect but this system is more prefect than the previous system known as "winging it".
on the 31st January, 2018 at 12:05am
VARiopoli. I look forward to the revelation that the incompetent and corrupt Italian league officials are colluding to get the results they desire using it.
on the 30th January, 2018 at 10:47pm
It makes a lot of sense to continue to use the VAR, but it can only work well if decision are implemented by totally impartial individuals.
The replays should also be shown on the big screen for everybody at the match to see that decisions are made honestly and above bar.
Personally, I'd use a system similar to Tennis and to Cricket. It could be that a player near to the action can invoke the use of the VAR. With both teams having 3 maximum calls (each) during the course of a match. It'd be fair
on the 30th January, 2018 at 8:09pm
VAR could be good if it is used consistently by refs but there have been far too many instances where it has been ignored in clear situations e.g. Mertens handball v Crotone, Torreira handball v Sassuolo, Cutrone handball v Lazio, Mertens offside v Atalanta. Refs also have not clearly looked at the replays e.g. Genoa penalty was offside v Juve but still given. Then some very soft calls given e.g. Callejon v Bologna. I think over time it can work but maybe a challenge system would work better
on the 30th January, 2018 at 7:25pm
But is the statement true?
Berna hand ball in the box, fact, no call, locking referees in change rooms when decisions don't go your way, fact, influencing referee designator, fact. Ball crosses the line by 3 feet, no goal, fact . They will find a way to manipulate the impossible. "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist"
on the 30th January, 2018 at 6:52pm
@Edward Mcandrew
That's your evidence? The punishment? I mean, yeah, that's where the greatest problems are, but I don't think you understand the scale.

Anyway, I'm not going to bother until you provide me with substance, as in actual names and rulings. Juventus were relegated, but as you should be able to read, it wasn't because of match-fixing. Can you do that or will you prove that you know nothing of calciopoli?
on the 30th January, 2018 at 6:30pm
The implementation phase is so early, what do you expect? perfection? that's patethic. So be it, some refining may needed along the way, but so be it.
on the 30th January, 2018 at 6:21pm
VAR depicted in JUVE font speaks volume. Hiding behind ten paragraphs of jabbering is not enough to cover the animosity and the real intention of the fake Rinaldi! LOL!
on the 30th January, 2018 at 5:48pm
VAR has been a disaster so far. Its use is very inconsistent. Some refs use it while others don't like to use it. It has not helped much. Even when used there were wrong decisions made.
on the 30th January, 2018 at 4:41pm

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