As La Liga in Spain prepares for its first ever season with VAR, the Italian Serie A is about to start its second.
What is VAR
The Video Assistant Referee, is the system also used in the World Cup, which reviews the game’s footage to help reduce errors.
In this post we’ll quickly look at how the system works (in particular in the Serie A). Keep in mind that in no way does the VAR replace the referee. The ref has the last word on every decision, and should never wait for the Video Assistant Referee to make the call, as this would deminish trust in the ref.
When Can VAR Intervene
When the VAR can come in to play? These are the 4 cases:
- To verify if the ball has crossed the goal line (if unsure)
- In the case a penalty is being awarded
- In the case of a direct red card
- In the case a yellow card or a red card is given to the wrong player
About Goal/No Goal in Serie A
The first list item isn’t relevant to the Serie A. The Serie A has been using Goal Line Technology for the past 2 season. The GLT is a complex system of sensors that automatically alert the referee, when the ball has past the goal line.
Only if the goal line technology malfunctions, the VAR will come into play for this aspect.
What is The Procedure?
If the VAR comes into action during a game the referee, and the ref only, has the faculty to open an OFR (on field review).
What this means is that the ref will make his way to a screen on the edge of the picth to review the footage regarding the possible foul or infringment. The VAR cannot, in any way, advise the ref what to do. Also the VAR can’t impose the opening of an on field review.
During an on field review, the players, both on and off the pitch must stay clear of the the reviewing area. If anyone were to enter this area they will be shown a yellow card. Also from the VAR‘s introduction the average injury time per game has been on the rise. If you’re new to the Serie A be prepared for some very long extra times when the VAR is used.
VAR in the 2019/2020 Serie A Season
There has been a significant change in the way the VAR is used in this season. In the previous two years there were many more calls from the VAR room and many overturned calls. This year it’s happening much less.
There is a reason for this. Some new wording was introduced in the rule book. Now the ref can be called by the VAR room to an on field review only in the case where the referee has made a clear and substantial error in judgement and no longer can he be called for something that he has seen and judged during the gameplay.
Any unclear points? contact me here or on Twitter and I’ll get back to you.