Football 11 months ago

AL video replays to start before finals

  • AL video replays to start before finals

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 05: David Carney of Sydney FC celebrates scoring huis second goal during the round five A-League match between Sydney FC and the Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The A-League is set to implement video replays before the finals series starts, meaning contentious incidents like David Carney's handball goal will no longer be missed.

Head of the A-League Greg O'Rourke has revealed Football Federation Australia's leading referees and video assistant referees (VARs) spent the weekend before last conducting tests of Hawkeye technology at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

It came after FFA's director of referees Ben Wilson travelled to Zurich late last month for workshops on VARs with FIFA, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and 10 other participating countries.

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Australia is one of six leagues around the world approved to run the trials of VARs including Germany's Bundesliga and America's Major League Soccer.

FFA had already flagged the potential to introduce video replays in time for the start of the finals on April 21.

But they are now aiming to do so a couple of weeks beforehand, providing they've completed all the necessary testing required under FIFA rules.

"It's proceeding and we're online for an April rollout," O'Rourke told AAP.

"The technology is right, that doesn't need to be questioned.

"The question now is how do we operationalise it in line with what FIFA want.

"Not everybody has agreed on how this will be communicated to fans and with broadcasters, whether or not it will be reviewed centrally like the NRL do or whether at each ground on each day.

"Our aim is to have video assistant refereeing at every single A-League game to pick reviews around what we saw with Carney's goal."

Melbourne Victory fans and coach Kevin Muscat were left aggrieved on Saturday night when Carney's equaliser for Sydney FC was allowed despite the ball making clear contact with his arm.

The VAR system will only look at four areas: goals, penalty decisions, red cards and the rare occasion of mistaken identity.

"If the video assistant referee is to focus on red cards, penalties and goals then Saturday night would have been picked up on review," O'Rourke said.

"The interesting thing for me being at the game was that not one person in real time saw that handball.

"Not the opposition, not the commentators, none of the fans.

"It was only on replays that it became obvious.

"That's where the VAR will come into itself."

O'Rourke said that if for any reason the trial is put on hold FFA will use fifth and sixth officials for the finals series as they did last season.

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