Video Assistant Referee

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UCL AT HALF: Early drama for Spurs-Man City, Liverpool-Porto

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High-drama starts at both Anfield and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals off to a flyer.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]


Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Manchester City

It’s nil-nil, but just, as Hugo Lloris saved a Sergio Aguero penalty awarded by Video Assistant Referee.

Many will feel the save fit the occasion, since the sliding Rose’s handball while drawing his arm back to his body was iffy at best, but Bjorn Kuipers was called to review the instance by VAR and decided it was indeed penalty-worthy.

Speaking of VAR, Fernandinho is fortunate that the cameras didn’t want to review a particularly dirty 50-50 challenge and post-challenge of his on Kane.

Liverpool 2-0 Porto

At Anfield, the drama was a little bit more by the book. The stadium was ready to explode from Moment No. 1, and Naby Keita‘s wickedly deflected strike fulfilled the prescription.

After Porto were denied a penalty through VAR, Liverpool struck again.

Roberto Firmino‘s marker didn’t need to take any turns to get into the goal, as the Brazilian was in great position to tap a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross into the goal.

Refs training with VAR ahead of approval for Women’s World Cup

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Women’s World Cup referees are undergoing training with VARs in matches over the next two weeks, The Associated Press has learned, paving the way for the FIFA council to approve the use of video reviews at the tournament in France.

FIFA has faced criticism for not committing to using video assistant referees at the June 7-July 7 Women’s World Cup just as they were for the men’s tournament for the first time in Russia last year.

Amid growing demands for clarity on the deployment of VAR, United States women’s team coach Jill Ellis said it would be “insulting” if female players didn’t have an equal right to have decisions reviewed by video at their biggest tournament. England counterpart Phil Neville has also criticized the standard of refereeing in the women’s game and the lack of technology which could reduce mistakes.

FIFA only gave the first indication on Monday that it does plan to use the technology in France after the AP discovered previously undisclosed training with VARs was taking place in seminars and matches in Qatar. It ensures the 27 referees and 47 assistant referees will gain the necessary experience that allows FIFA executives at a meeting in Miami in March to approve the use of the technology for the World Cup.

“The final decision if VAR will be used at the Women’s World Cup will be taken by the FIFA council,” FIFA told The Associated Press on Monday. The governing body had previously only said a decision about VAR would come “in due time.”

FIFA is now ramping up testing with VAR as referees preside over matches with the assistance of technology at the Al Kass International Cup for men’s under-17 teams, including Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, from Monday through Feb. 15 at Qatar’s Aspire Academy.

“It’s similar to the men’s preparation,” FIFA said in a statement to the AP after being asked about the gathering of Women’s World Cup referees in Doha. “To have the best preparation the referees will have VAR training and in addition to that they will officiate games of the Al Kass Cup.”

It is a rare deployment of female referees at men’s games. Uruguayan official Claudia Umpierrez made the first VAR call of the tournament near Doha to disallow a goal for offside in a game involving Aspire and Moroccan side Raja Club Athletic on Monday evening.

“They have a competition, real matches and that’s is the best way to practice,” FIFA said. “VAR is only a part of their preparation. All other refereeing aspects like reading the game, uniformity and consistency in their decisions, positioning etc., are also crucial for their performances.”

While the Women’s World Cup referees and their assistants are women, most of the VARs are men, with some having gained experienced at the World Cup in Russia. No domestic women’s competition currently uses VAR.

When FIFA in December announced the appointment of referees for the Women’s World Cup, there was no mention of VAR.

FIFA appears to be operating on the same timescale to last year when VAR for the men’s World Cup was officially approved at a council meeting in March.

The video review calls in Russia were made from FIFA’s International Broadcast Center near Moscow. VARs, four to a game, sat with monitor operators trained to find the best camera angles before feeding decisions back to referees on the pitch in stadiums. Referees can also check replays themselves on pitch-side monitors.

Video review can help referees overturn clear errors in game-changing situations. This means incidents involving goals scored, the award of penalty kicks, red cards, and cases of referees showing cards to the wrong player.

Chelsea boss Sarri plenty upset with VAR decision for Spurs

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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri doesn’t have a problem with Video Assistant Referee, but he sure thinks it wasn’t used well in Tuesday’s League Cup semifinal between his Blues and the host Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.

[ RECAP: Spurs 1-0 Chelsea ]

VAR awarded a penalty to Harry Kane about 90 seconds after the Spurs striker was ruled offside moments after Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga chopped him down in the box.

Sarri understands the use of technology, but thinks the people making the decision got it wrong.

[ MORE: Spurs react to VAR-infused win ]

Apparently, they should’ve asked for the Chelsea camera! From the BBC:

“A few minutes ago I watched the video from our camera. It was offside,” Sarri said. “Our camera was in line with Harry Kane. Offside with the head, the knee. Offside. It was really important the linesman carried on running, he had a big impact on our defenders. … I don’t think English referees are able to use the system.”

Sarri was not disappointed in his team’s performance, as just the finishing touch was missing at Wembley Stadium.

Chelsea out-attempted Spurs 17-6, and deserved better than a 1-0 deficit.

“We played into the opposition box 70 balls,” he said. “Tottenham had 10 balls into our box. We had 17 or 18 shots, nine on target. I think we played very well. In this moment it is not easy to score but I am happy with my players.”

Kane’s VAR penalty gives Spurs first leg lead over Chelsea

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  • VAR awards Kane penalty
  • Chelsea pours it on in second half
  • Blues out shoot Spurs 17-6
  • Backup GK Gazzaniga key for Spurs against lively Hazard

Video Assistant Referee played a huge role in the League Cup semifinal first leg between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.

Harry Kane converted a penalty awarded via VAR as Spurs grabbed a 1-0 lead in match that otherwise favored the Blues.

The margin was razor-thin, and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri thinks VAR got it wrong.

[ READ: PL Player Power Rankings ]

The second leg is Jan. 24 at Stamford Bridge. The other semifinal between Manchester City and Burton Albion begins Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

Kane was taken down in the box by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but the penalty was not awarded as the Spurs man judged to be offside.

The video reviewed the call, though, and found that Kane was onside. The English captain didn’t miss from the spot, and Spurs led 1-0.

Eden Hazard was particularly vivid for Chelsea, though the Blues star could not find the back of the goal and his teammates struggled to put the finishing touch on his playmaking.

Youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Bayern Munich target, played 79 minutes in the match.

VAR coming to Champions League in February; Pep “delighted”

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Video Assistant Referee makes its UEFA Champions League debut in January, so supporters of Manchester United, Manchester City, and maybe Spurs and/or Liverpool can rest assured they have a lesser chance of seeing an unjust exit to the competition.

[ MORE: Pep explains Aguero absence ]

UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin said implementation is ready quicker than expected. From UEFA.com:

“We are ready to use VAR earlier than initially planned and we are convinced that it will be beneficial for our competitions as it will provide valuable help to match officials and will allow to reduce incorrect decisions.”

Pep Guardiola was asked about the development during his Monday briefing ahead of a Tuesday match at Watford:

“I am delighted with it. The Premier League is the last one and sooner or later it will happen. The second goal against Shakhtar was a ridiculous penalty. With VAR, we are looking to make better decisions most of the time. The referee won’t always do a good job. Everyone makes mistakes but with this we can correct them in three seconds.”

We imagine most of his 15 peers in the knockout rounds will agree with this assessment (at least until VAR overturns a referee mistake that hurts their clubs).