Wrongly awarded goal decides Australian title after VAR failure

The video review system was blamed for the incorrect awarding of a goal that decided Australia's football title, throwing fresh doubts on the technology ahead of its World Cup debut.

By: AP | Published: May 6, 2018 4:34:35 pm
newcastle Watford’s Andre Gray on top and Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett battle for the ball during the English Premier League match. (Source: PTI)

A technical malfunction with the video review system was blamed Sunday on the incorrect awarding of a goal that decided Australia’s soccer title, throwing fresh doubts on the technology ahead of its World Cup debut.

Australian television viewers saw replays showing James Donachie was offside when he set up Kosta Barbarouses to clinch Melbourne Victory’s 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets. In review following Saturday’s A-League grand final, Football Federation Australia said the video assistant referee (VAR) did not have access to the same footage as television viewers showing the offside.

“We are extremely disappointed at this failure of the VAR technology,” said Greg O’Rourke, the head of the A-League. “We understand that this happened only once this season (but) 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.”

The Hawk-Eye software that uploads the broadcast feed into the VAR system was partially lost just seconds before Victory’s goal. By the time the connection was restored, it was deemed too late to change the decision because the match had restarted.

“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,” O’Rourke said.

“On this occasion the technology itself failed and the broadcast angles required were unavailable. We are working with Hawk-Eye to thoroughly understand why it did and what can be done to prevent this happening again.”

FIFA confirmed in March that VAR would be used at the World Cup, which will be held in Russia from June 14-July 15, despite some competitions _ including the English Premier League _ resisting introducing the embryonic technology.

The failure of VAR in Australia denied Newcastle a chance to go from last place in the 2016-17 season to champions in its first A-League grand final in a decade.

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