A major technical failure was behind the video assistant referee (VAR) controversy in Saturday night’s A-League grand final, which saw Melbourne Victory’s winning goal come from an offside position.
The Victory scored in the ninth minute via Kostas Barbarouses, but the assist for the goal — a header from James Donachie — came after Donachie’s run from a free-kick was timed too early.
Broadcast replays showed a clear offside when the free kick was taken, but the VAR appeared not to intervene as the goal stood, ultimately proving to be the winner as the Victory held on to clinch the title at the Newcastle Jets’ expense.
But Football Federation Australia (FFA) said, after conducting a review into the incident, that a major glitch in the technology was behind the VAR’s inaction, saying the system was lost for 30 seconds in the lead-up to the Victory’s 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,” the FFA’s head of the A-League Greg O’Rourke said in a statement.
“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 judgements 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.
“This is important not just for the A-League but for other leagues around the world and for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at which VAR will be used for the first time.”
More to come.