Willem II Tilburg midfielder Anouar Kali became the first player in the Netherlands to get his marching orders from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after his yellow card in a Dutch Cup tie against Ajax Amsterdam was turned into a red on Wednesday.
Kali was initially cautioned by referee Danny Makkelie for kicking Ajax's Lasse Schone in the ankle, but the decision was changed within seconds into a red after intervention from the VAR. It was the first time television assistance was fully used in on-field decision-making. Referee Pol van Boekel, who was sitting in a small van with six TV screens on the parking level at the Amsterdam Arena, scrutinised replays of the 60th-minute incident before communicating his verdict to the on-field referee through a headset. Makkelie then reversed his decision. But the intervention confused the crowd present for Ajax's 5-0 victory in the first round cup tie as they were not aware of the change. "We do hope that there will be some communication for the public in the future, they have a right to it," van Boekel told reporters. The two referees will swap roles on Thursday for the Dutch Cup match between Feyenoord and FC Oss, as the system is further tested.
Last month, video technology was used as France beat Italy in a friendly international in Bari, although it did not involve stopping the action to study replays. The VAR can review an incident when asked by the match referee, as well as advise officials on the field about incidents they may have missed. The International Football Association Board, which oversees the rules of the game, is expected to decide in 2018 whether to authorise the use of video technology and include it in the laws.