Busacca (FIFA): "VAR is not infallible"

The FIFA Head of Refereeing, Massimo Busacca, spoke about a key episode at the Confederations Cup: "In the possible penalty kick situation during the semi-final Chile – Portugal things could have been done better, but we are still in the VAR trial phase and we need just to oil the mechanism and prepare the referees to the best of their potential. There are some good areas where the use of technology has already made a decisive contribution, and I am referring to offside, personal exchanges, and violent gestures, but if there is an interpretation, such as fouls in the penalty area, then a gray line will remain possible. The VAR will not resolve all situations that can be interpreted; it is impossible, it will not happen, but it can definitely be improved".
Busacca reviewed the game situation with the referees to understand what prompted them not to intervene. Meanwhile, a myth has been wiped out: it is not the referee who requires the intervention of the technology. Whoever is in front of the monitors (VARs) always reviews the decisive actions of a game and can independently report to the referee on the field the possible mistake. When it is obvious, the referee is usually confident in the VAR’s suggestion. If, on the other hand, there are some margins of interpretation, then the suggestion is to review the contact. This was missed in the semi-final Chile – Portugal. Busacca evaluates it as a mistake caused by inexperience. It's undergoing testing. "This contact has been seen from many different angles and technologies, and who has the best view is the VAR”, explained Busacca. “Today, the penalty seems to be obvious with the slow-motion, but if you change the angle to the real one, there were doubts, it seemed like a normal contact of the game, perhaps normal contact for Chile players too; they did not protest, they were usually fierce, the referee was close, he saw and evaluated. Although it did not seem a clear and obvious mistake for the VARs, they could have taken a step further by asking referee Faghani to review the action, taking advantage of a different angles than the one he had on the field, and then decide, because we want the referees to continue to take responsibility".
These tests also serve to look at the quality of referees chosen as VARs. Not everyone is brought to the VAR and, above all, not everyone has the personality to intervene on the choice of a colleague. Faced with clear episodes, the task is easy, while everything is complicated where there is an interpretation. However, it will remain on some issues, such as handball. In short, there will be a natural selection of referees that can work as VARs. Italy is already very far ahead of the work this year due to the work of Roberto Rosetti (head of the project for the Italian League). That is why the VAR "live experiment" in Serie A will be a huge help for FIFA in view of the 2018 World Cup, where technology will be used. Another hand will come from the Bundesliga. In short, Busacca will then pull the numbers and these two experiences will affect the list of referees/VARs to be brought to Russia. Italy hopes to double. It would mean green light for Gianluca Rocchi and Daniele Orsato.