YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - FIFA’s new video review system is struggling to win supporters after the technology sparked controversy for the second straight match at the Club World Cup on Thursday.
Real Madrid reached the final by beating Club America 2-0 but the review system was again the talking point after Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury-time strike caused consternation.
The goal appeared to be ruled offside by Paraguayan referee Enrique Caceres before, in consultation with the video official, he eventually allowed it to stand.
“It’s a new system and I don’t like it very much. I think it can cause confusion and it wasn’t explained to us in much detail,” said Real midfielder Luka Modric.
“My first impression was it’s not a very good system.”
The previous day, video evidence was used to award a penalty for the first time in a competition run by soccer’s governing body FIFA as Japanese team Kashima Antlers beat Colombia’s Atletico Nacional in the semi-finals.
Kashima benefitted after the video assistant referee (VAR) called the referee’s attention to an infringement by Atletico’s Orlando Berrio.
The decision, and the time it took to reach it, provoked anger from fans. Play continued for another 45 seconds, enough time for Kashima to launch another attack, before the ball went out for a throw-in and the referee asked for a review.
However, the International Football Assocation Board (IFAB), the sport’s law-making body, emphasised that the technology was still at the testing stage.
“Referees do not have to wait until the ball goes out of play – they can stop the game for a review as soon as the ball is in a ‘neutral’ area i.e. when neither team has a good attacking possibility,” said David Elleray, IFAB’s technical director.
“But we have to remember that this is the first experience some of these referees have had with video assistance.
“Checking replays, communication between the officials and then the review itself can take time when it’s a completely new situation for them,” added the former referee.
“With further training for those taking part in the live trials around the world...we should see the speed of the review process continue to improve.”
FIFA is using the technology on a trial basis at the Club World Cup.
It involves off-field VARs monitoring the action and calling the referee’s attention to “clear mistakes in match-changing situations” such as goals, penalty decisions, red cards and mistaken identity.
Leagues in 12 countries have confirmed they will participate in a two-year experiment with VARs.
“If you ask me my personal impression it can cause confusion,” said Real coach Zinedine Zidane.
“We don’t have the power to decide. If that’s decided, then we need to get used to it.”
Additonal reporting by Brian Homewood in Zurich; Editing by Tony Jimenez/Alan Baldwin