The first double date of the South American road to Qatar 2022 left Peru and Chile as standard bearers against arbitration. And the VAR, which came to bring sports justice in football, in question.
Criticisms of technology go from a wrong decision in interpretation plays to the time spent in reviews, especially in forward position plays that are resolved with a straight line.
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In Lima, the President of the Republic, Martín Vizcarra, even criticized the work of the Chilean Julio Bascuñán (referee of Peru 2 vs. Brazil 4): “Unfortunately, I have to speak as a fan, as a citizen, the referee unbalances the game that was for anyone. I think that a team like Brazil does not need the referee’s help to unbalance this game that we were all following at home, “said the Peruvian president.
And I add: “We hope that rude mistakes, which change the history of a match, will not be made in the future. We hope that FIFA can correct these glaring flaws that affect the team, the fans and an entire country. “
On the first date, disputed at the end of last week, the indignant had been the president of the Chilean ANFP, Pablo Milad, after Paraguayan referee Ever Aquino avoided a possible penalty by Sebastián Coates three minutes before the end of the match with La Roja (Uruguay won 2-1). The top leader of trans-Andean football spoke with the newspaper La Tercera and announced: “I will ask for the VAR audios and I will ask for the punishment of the Paraguayan as a FIFA referee.”
The anger escalated: the Chilean footballers union made itself available to the claim. The Trans-Andean Sports Minister, Cecilia Pérez, protested on Twitter: “He is still upset with the error of the referee Aquino and the VAR that were decisive for the defeat of La Roja in Uruguay. To provide transparency to the qualifying rounds and not allow suspicions, Conmebol should apply sanctions and release the audio of communication between the judges. “Milad spoke with the president of Conmebol, Alejandro Domínguez, and the confederation released the audios and the filming of the controversial play.
Unlike Chile, Peru did not ask for audios, but all the front pages of the newspapers blamed Bascuñán for the defeat of the team that Ricardo Gareca directs. They reproach him, above all, for the penalty against Carlos Zambrano, Boca player, for an infraction against Neymar. The Brazilian striker himself changed it for a goal and the result changed to 3-2 with seven minutes remaining.
“You have to understand that the VAR does not ensure that there is no error. It is a tool, and the regulation establishes that there are plays that are of interpretation,” points out an arbitration source used to working with technology.
And add: “The VAR, in these plays, cannot provide accuracy, but rather a greater commitment to sports justice.” The Peruvian Zambrano was the protagonist of another of the controversies of the double day: the butt to Miguel Almirón, from Paraguay, which the Argentine Néstor Pitana judged as yellow and not red, without even reviewing it by the VAR.
Conversations with his technological assistant revealed that Pitana, on the court, sees no intention of the Peruvian defender to hurt the former Lanús player. Pitana justifies herself by telling what she saw of Zambrano: “He goes to the ball down and I don’t know if the hit is going to the face. But he puts an elbow at the neck.… when the player comes over you and you put your elbow. So for me, I see that blow as a yellow “.
The VAR assistant has no way to contradict what the main referee says through the images. No shot guarantees that the Peruvian went with malicious intent or deliberately hit him in the face, beyond the force of the impact. For this reason, what the protocol says is resolved: in the face of doubt or the absence of conclusive evidence that contradicts what is indicated by who is on the court, the original ruling remains. The head referee, no matter how much technology is in the field, is still the main authority.
Beyond the discrepancies in acting plays, the technology was also criticized for waiting times. There were plays that were resolved after intervals of between 3 and 5 minutes in which the fourth referees had to do their best to prevent the screens from suffering the vehemence of footballers or friends seeking a favorable ruling.
“I got out of there, Alexis, you can’t be,” Fernando Echenique shouted to Alexis Sánchez during the 2-2 between Colombia and Chile. “It was criminal, it was criminal,” insisted the trans-Andeans. Darío Herrera, meanwhile, was working a miracle to be able to communicate with his technological assistants and review the play. And yes, it was criminal.
The referee’s chip
Conmebol is no stranger to the technological and even sports disparities that the continent has. In Luque, near Asunción and close to the international airport of that city, they remember that there are many leagues on the continent (Argentina, for example) that do not have VAR, and that it is difficult for the referees to put their head in “VAR mode” and “non-VAR mode”.
In terms of technology, there is a limitation: the broadcasts of the Copa Libertadores and Copa Suramericana matches they have the same image provider: MediaPro. In playoff matches, however, the owners of the video differ from country to country. So the implementation of the technology is different. And even something as simple as drawing a straight line can lead to unnecessary delay.
And another detail: the referees had to make a health bubble to be able to direct these games. They were distributed in the ten countries for the Libertadores matches and for the qualifying rounds. That is one of the reasons why Bascuñán, a Chilean, led Peru. And the Inca’s next rival is … Chile.
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