April 18 – UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has re-iterated his concern over video assistant referees being deployed at the World Cup.
Ceferin has been one of the leading voices against the introduction of VARs and insists that for the time being the system will not be used in European competitions.
“I have some fear for the World Cup, where we will have referees who have never officiated with the VAR,” Ceferin told Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport. “I hope there are no scandals or problems.”
Explaining why he won’t allow the system in UEFA’s club competitions, Ceferin added: “The Champions League is like a Ferrari or a Porsche: you cannot drive it right away, you need training, offline testing. And everyone has to understand how it works.”
When giving the green light to VARs last month, football’s lawmakers produced statistics that showed the extent to which refereeing mistakes had been reduced. But critics say there is simply too much confusion, highlighted by the recent much-publicised incident in Germany when a ruling was made after the teams had left the pitch for halftime.
“It’s too early for VAR,” Ceferin declared. “That doesn’t mean we will never have it as the process is inevitable… We’ll have it one day in the Champions League but there’s no rush.”
Ceferin insisted VAR would have made no difference in last week’s Champions League quarter-final between Real Madrid and Juventus, where a highly questionable stoppage-time penalty led to the defending champions squeezing into the semis.
“What would have changed with VAR? Nothing. There are those who have watched it 20 times, I’ve watched it 50, but for half the people it’s a penalty and for the other half, it isn’t.”
Ceferin says veteran Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon’s outburst against referee Michael Oliver for awarding the spot kick was totally out of order.
“I understand the frustration and the disappointment of a player who has lost a game in the 93rd minute but What Buffon said is not fair.”
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