VAR makes V. League more fair: referee head

By Lam Thoa   October 24, 2023 | 03:00 am PT
VAR makes V. League more fair: referee head
Referee Nguyen Trung Kien reviews a play on VAR before giving the penalty to Nam Dinh FC in the V. League with Quang Nam FC on Oct. 22, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Dang Thanh Ha, head of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) referee division, said VAR has operated effectively and helped referees make more accurate decisions in the new V. League season.

After a trial period, VAR (video assistant referee) was put into official use in the 2023-2024 season of V. League. In the opening round of the season last weekend, four games used the technology. Referees reviewed many plays on VAR before making game-changing decisions like giving penalties or red cards.

Ha said without VAR, it would have been difficult for the referees to make the correct decisions on the penalties, especially the one given to Nam Dinh in stoppage time of the game against Quang Nam. After the game, Quang Nam coach Van Sy Son showed his support for VAR although his team lost because of the late penalty.

"VAR was doing its job well," Ha told VnExpress on Monday. "The referees, with the support of VAR, have made correct decisions to make the games fair. This is good for Vietnamese football."

What people were not satisfied with VAR was time. Officials often take a long time to review the plays before making decisions, and some even take five minutes to review while FIFA's recommendation is below three minutes.

But Ha thinks that is not a problem. "For me, accuracy is more important than time," he said.

The VFF referee head also added that the number of cameras used for VAR in V. League is eight, which is four fewer than Soutn Korea's K-League 1 and much less than the top leagues of Europe.

Because of this, a replay might not have the best angle so referees are likely to take longer to make up their minds. In addition, VAR is a new feature so the referees will need time to use it proficiently.

"Everything takes time. I hope everyone looks at the positive side of VAR and supports it," Ha said.

HCMC FC coach Vu Tien Thanh was not happy when learning that the game between his team and Khanh Hoa FC would not have access to VAR. A representative of Vietnam Professional Football JSC (VPF) explained that there are currently two VAR vans, so there have been difficulties in transportation between venues.

VPF is expected to have two more vans provided by FIFA to use for all games.

"We try to use VAR to ensure fairness for the league. However, current conditions do not allow it to be applied to all matches," the VPF representative said, adding that VAR in V. League is also under FIFA supervision and using it for any match would need approval.

VPF is also considering hiring foreign referees for important matches that do not have access to VAR.

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