FIFA referee German Delfino has landed himself in trouble after overturning his decision to award a penalty and a red card after it was reported that his assistant saw a replay on a TV monitor in one of the dugouts and told him to change his mind. Delfino deemed that the Arsenal player Daniel Valencia prevented a goalscoring opportunity against Vélez Sarsfield by handling the ball in the area and the player was sent off, while Vélez were awarded a penalty. During the protests that followed, the replays showed it was instead the Vélez striker Mariano Pavone who handled the ball. As the Vélez players readied to take the penalty, Delfino decided to overturn his decision – apparently on the advice of his assistant who appeared to have seen a replay on monitors in the Arsenal bench – and the referee allowed Valencia to rejoin his teammates on the pitch. Delfino, who has admitted his performance was “messy”, has been suspended for one match for failing to control the game and will be allowed to return only in the lower leagues. Though the refereeing team maintained that overturning their decision had nothing to do with the instant replays on the Arsenal bench, the suspicion it was an unofficial use of video technology lingers. Velez manager Miguel Angel Russo said: “Delfino has every right to change his decision. But by his own decision; not off the television. The FIFA rules are very clear, they don't accept technology. If cameras are to exist then let them be used for everyone”. The game, which Vélez went to win 2-1, also offered an additional talking point when Valencia was sent off again during extra time after receiving a second yellow card for a professional foul, thus becoming the first player to be sent off twice during the same game in the Argentine league.
"This type of play is very difficult to judge. From a distance it seemed to be the defender’s hand. The referees worked together and justice was done because it was the attacker’s hand and not the defender. It was messy, but there was justice at last", said Miguel Scime, director of the AFA Referee Development. Delfino, 36, did not know how to handle the situation, had trouble in communication with Miguel Angel Russo, the coach of Velez, and the assistant of Martin Palermo, Roberto Abbondanzieri, two of the most excited in the midst of the controversy. Delfino acknowledged: "The procedure was horrible and these are things that should not happen. I feel responsible. It never happened to me before in many years". Delfino's words speak for themselves; he is blamed for what happened. Because, beyond the controversy over the use or not of technology, it is clear that he had no sufficient strength to control the situation. "I talked to the referee and was an unfortunate move. Delfino told me that he did not rely on technology. He said he was not aware of a TV replay, but changed his decision after a visual communication with his assistants”, Scime added to ESPN. Delfino never admitted that he, somehow, through its assistants, leaned on technology. He claims that the fourth official Lucas Comesaña told him that the hand was Pavone’s, not Valencia’s. Delfino changed his decision, but there is one detail: from the middle of the field, how can the fourth official have a better look of what happened in the penalty area than Delfino or Nunez? It is very difficult. Everything suggests that a replay was seen on a TV monitor or someone else noticed it. "Beyond that, justice has been served; the only reality is that justice is done as you want. You have to do justice within the legal environment where it occurred. I have no evidence that Delfino based his decision on the technology; I have logic elements", said Guillermo Marconi, the head of the Union of Referees of Argentina.
The consequences of what happened in this match have not escaped CONMEBOL and FIFA. Delfino had an outstanding international season and was a candidate for the 2015 Copa America, along with Nestor Pitana. Now several posts recede into consideration. "It's a big stain on the Argentinian refereeing if not removed quickly," said an insider. Delfino is a referee usually right, but he had already been controversial. In 2012, a very bad job in San Lorenzo – San Martín, led to the relegation of San Juan. A year earlier, he had shown a second yellow card and sent-off to Martin Galmarini, of Tigre, for an inexistent handball against Gimnasia. To amend the error, the Disciplinary Committee did not sanction the player. Now, the most recent controversy can seriously affect the reputation of one of the best referees in Argentina.
Source: La Nation / The Guardian