December 11 – Trials of assistant video referees in the German Bundesliga threw up yet another controversial case at the weekend when a player had actually left the field after being sent off before being called back on.
Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Marius Wolf was called back from the dressing rooms after having been initially dismissed by the referee in the 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Wolf was shown a red card for a challenge on James Rodriguez with just under 20 minutes remaining and kicked a microphone in frustration as he walked off.
But referee Harm Osmers changed his mind after consulting video replays and Wolf returned to receive a yellow card instead of red. The decision might have vindicated the whole point of VARs but not when a player had already left the pitch.
“I was in the changing room already,” said Wolf. “Then the team manager came and called me back, said the referee was looking at video evidence. I also said he should do that. For me, it was not a red card.”
The International Football Association Board, custodians of the laws of the game, is set to rule in March whether to rubber stamp the use of VAR for the World Cup finals in Russia, with some members not as convinced as FIFA president Gianni Infantino that the system is foolproof.
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