A “technical failure” with the video assistant referee (VAR) stopped the controversial technology from disallowing the goal that decided Saturday night’s A-League grand final. A review by Football Federation Australia has found the VAR on duty, Craig Zetter, did not have access to the camera angles required to catch a blatant offside in the process of Kosta Barbarouses’s 9-minute goal that gave Melbourne Victory their 1-0 win over Newcastle to claim the championship.
Social media went into meltdown when replays showed James Donachie had drifted the wrong side of the last Jets player, with Johnny Warren medallist Adrian Mierzejewski and former Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe leading the outrage. The assistant referee never raised his flag but it is understood some members of the Victory coaching staff hesitated before celebrating because they believed Donachie was offside on their first viewing. A-League chief Greg O’Rourke issued a statement on Sunday morning to reveal Hawkeye had a “malfunction of software” that meant the VAR system was partially lost 30 seconds before Victory’s goal. It was not restored until “some minutes” after the goal at which point O’Rourke said it was too late to overturn the goal. “We are extremely disappointed at this failure of the VAR technology and we understand the disappointment and frustration of the Newcastle Jets, their fans and indeed all football fans,” O’Rourke said. “VAR was introduced here and in other parts of the world as a technology-based solution to correct the human errors that inevitably are made from time to time when officials are making judgments in split seconds. On this occasion the technology itself failed and the broadcast angles required were unavailable. We are working with Hawkeye to thoroughly understand why it did and what can be done to prevent this happening again. Whilst we understand that this happened only once this season it was at a most critical time. All parties desire the technology to be failure proof and that is what we will be striving for.” After the match Jets coach Ernie Merrick made it clear he didn’t agree with the decision that stood. “It looked to me like there were three players offside,” he said. “I don’t want to be a sore loser but if that goal was offside I just wonder what the point of the VAR is.” Victory coach Kevin Muscat said: “I reckon there’s been a few technical glitches throughout the season. “Three weeks ago, when we played Adelaide, their goal was offside and the VAR didn’t have the correct footage. When we sent them our footage they acknowledged that it was offside. I don’t want to rub people’s noses in it. What I am saying is that we’ve got to allow more resources to give these guys all the correct software and technology that they need.” The incident comes as a warning of the system’s fallibility before next month’s World Cup in Russia, where it be used at football’s showpiece tournament for the first time.
Source: The Guardian