How 'Video Assistant Ref' Turned Damien Duff From Optimistic To Pissed Off In 2 Hours

How 'Video Assistant Ref' Turned Damien Duff From Optimistic To Pissed Off In 2 Hours

While Brian Kerr and Didi Hamann blasted the trial of video refereeing in the Confederations Cup at half time between Portugal's meeting with Mexico on Sunday, Damien Duff was eager to reserve his judgement as he saw the positives in VAR assistance and hoped to see an improvement, but at half-time in the game between Chile and Cameroon that followed, he'd had enough.

Chile would go on to win the game 2-0, but tempers flared after they had a goal ruled out just before the half-time whistle.

It was all a bit of a mess. Vargas was judged offside not by the linesman, but by the video referee a good 60 seconds after the goal was scored, which meant that Chile had celebrated and were trotting back to the half-way line when the ref blew his whistle again for the offside. This delay was frustrating.

This was what pissed Hamann and Kerr off, the time it took for this VAR to flag an incident. In the first match of the day, the ref became aware of an infringement 15 seconds, and a good three phases of play, after the fact and disallowed what looked to be a perfectly good goal.

They were right. It took too long, but ultimately it enforced the correct decision as Portugal were offside from the free-kick. This was why Duff wasn't fussed. He's a patient man.

That's the first problem, it takes too long.

The second problem is what pissed Duffer off.


The next game was Chile vs Cameroon, and in the 45th minute VAR reared it's ugly head again. After a couple of minutes of confusion and some trademark rage from Artuo Vidal, we saw that the video assistant had told the ref it was offside, despite the linesman not raising his flag. The replays showed that Vargas had only his arm in an offside position, thus the goal should have stood.

In the RTE studio Damien Duff was legitimately angry that even after checking upstairs, they still got the decision wrong.

They say hands and arms aren't considered, it's one thing if it was his left-arm but Teikeu, the left side centre-back, is keeping him onside. Standard.

Nothing is ever going to change my opinion on that so this is turning into a bit of shambles for me. What are they seeing? It's they're naked eye up in the office.

They've got replays and for them to go and call that there; it's making me as animated and as angry as Did was at half-time.

This is putting me off. He's onside. It's nonsense. Ridiculous decision. Ridiculous.

So this is what we have learned about Video Assistant Referee from the ongoing trial:

-It takes too long for the VAR to communicate with the referee, causing awkward random stoppages that do not suit football.
-Even when the VAR feels it is right to intervene, there is no guarantee they will get the decision right.

When it works, and it has done on a few occasions in the tournament so far, it's a bit awkward but ultimately justice prevails. When it fails, it's incredibly frustrating.

It could be a master-stroke by FIFA, as without VAR we likely wouldn't be talking about the Confederations Cup at all. All we know for sure is that if Duffer is getting wound up about it, it's not going well.

Mikey Traynor

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