Kassai makes history in Japan!

Viktor Kassai has become the first referee to make use of the VAR system in an official FIFA tournament. A trip just inside the box was missed by the referee and AR Vencel Tóth in open play before Mr Kassai went over to the sidelines to review the decision. Having re-watched the incident he then made the decision to give a penalty to Kashima, who went on to win the game 3-0.

Interesting to watch the process. What is noticeable is that none of the players approach the referee or Assistant referee whilst the review takes place, it is a mandatory yellow card for them to do so but as soon as he has made the decision, the Atlético Nacional defenders start to protest. Perhaps the authorities need to extend the time frame for the mandatory yellow to include the period immediately after the decision has been made.

Whilst it is interesting footage and, with use of the VAR, a correct decision was reached, the footage does not clarify at what stage in the play, that Viktor Kassai called for assistance from the VAR, thus raising the questions:

1. Did he have to wait until the ball was no longer in play ie after he had made decision to award a FK, GK, Throw in etc.or does the VAR communicate with the referee to request that he should view the incident?

2. If he had stopped the game with the ball still in play, and viewed the footage, would he have restarted with a ‘drop ball’ if he had decided that a PK was not the appropriate/correct decision?

I’m sure that now a major decision has been made with the use of VAR’s FIFA will release a training video soon, explaining the process and offering an answer to the above questions raised.

Video courtesy of  The Third Team – Channel 1.

The incident comes just a day after FIFA published an interview where the referees at the FIFA Club World Cup shared their first impressions from the VAR trial trial. In the interview Viktor Kassai is quoted as saying “We have to do what we’ve always done, all decisions are to be made by the referee and assistant referees and then, only if it’s necessary, the VAR can support with a blatant mistake. It’s a good feeling to know there is someone to help, but at the same time we are not thinking about the new system when we are officiating a match.”