Victory’s Leigh Broxham has backed the new Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system but adds no-one should expect the to work perfectly immediately as the Hyundai A-League prepares for its introduction.
VARs will be on hand for all five games of Round 26 in the Hyundai A-League this weekend, including in Broxham’s game against Wanderers in Sydney, with Australia’s premier division set to be the first top-tier league in the world to use the video review system.
As part of FIFA’s ongoing testing and trial period, VARs will be involved for the remaining two rounds of the regular season plus the three weeks of finals.
Broxham is convinced “it can only be a good thing” but has cautioned the football community into expecting too much too soon.
VARs can only review incidents relating to goals, penalties, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity as part of FIFA’s ‘minimum interference for maximum benefit’ mantra.
“We are pretty critical on referees but sometimes things happen very, very quickly, and they are only human,” Broxham said on Thursday.
“The new video technology can only help and I think it will still have some teething problems to begin with because they’re still practicing as well, so I’m sure it won’t all be smooth sailing but everyone’s got to have an open mind.
“Everyone says in the media, we’ve been waiting for this, so I’m not going to sit here and go ‘well, geez, I don’t know’ now.
“It’s definitely a positive thing so it’s just another platform to help them [referees] make the right decisions.”
In other sports – such as rugby league, cricket and American football – coaches or captains can challenge decisions.
FIFA has decided not to include such an option with VARs, which Broxham has no problem with.
“All major incidents in the game will be quietly reviewed anyway,” he said.
“So, you know, you go running to them – ‘that was a penalty, that wasn’t penalty’ or whatever – they’ll be reviewing it anyway. They’ve given us confidence that there’ll be no need for that.
“It’s a natural reaction though, isn’t it? You see something, you go running over and say ‘look at the screen’ or whatever.”
Broxham added: “I think a lot will go on in the background that we won’t even know about.”
The first A-League match to include a live VAR will be Friday night’s clash between Melbourne City and Adelaide United.