Saturday November 2 2019
VAR 'lacks clear protocols'

Retired referee Paolo Casarin and former FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio claim VAR is being misused because there are “no clear protocols.”

The technology has caused a great deal of controversy, most recently with several incidents on Wednesday night, infuriating Napoli, Roma and Genoa.

“The referees have the power to make decisions, they have to use VAR, it’s an instrument that is there to help them,” Tavecchio told Radio Punto Nuovo.

“They need clear protocols, because currently there is too much liberty given to officials and they make mistakes. Nobody is putting the referee’s status into doubt, but VAR is there to avoid errors and the Video Assistant Referee should have more power in penalty box incidents.”

The issue of whether a decision is a ‘clear and obvious error’ remains a major problem, as often the VAR doesn’t feel equipped to intervene.

Taking advantage of the technology and the referee checking for himself would at least ensure more consistency, but many are reticent to use it.

Former referee Casarin was even harsher in his criticism in an interview with the Corriere dello Sport.

“I cannot understand why the referees don’t make the most of such a powerful tool to minimise errors. I want to make clear, it can only minimise errors, never eliminate them completely.

“There is a bigger problem in play here, and that is behind the scenes. Those at the top of football, I can only assume, are not convinced by VAR.

“Either they decide that VAR is of no real interest or they can say this is the path now, anyone who doesn’t like it can leave.

“It is unacceptable that in the third season of VAR, we have not yet been able to create a reliable protocol. It’s obvious then that the referees and VAR officials don’t know what to do, so there is no uniformity. VAR has to be written into the rules and give certainty to those who use it.

“Referees should feel empowered to use the technology that is open to them, without hiding behind protocol. In the old days, a referee could make a mistake and say he was alone out there, he had to make a split-second decision. Now the only referees who are alone are the ones who want to be in that situation.

“I do believe making the dialogue between the referee and VAR booth would be useful, but probably after the game rather than during it.”

Casarin also has no time for the new clampdown on handball, which removed some of the protections for an ‘involuntary’ gesture.

“Are we meant to teach kids to play with their arms behind their backs at all times? Cards are flying around too now, including to coaches who set one toe out of their technical area.

“The handball rules are just meant to increase the number of goals and penalties scored.”

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