By Alan Biggs
Opponents of video assistance for referees were given ammunition by the biggest talking point in the friendly between France and England in Paris. The You Are The Ref view is that it was an Italian Job that went wrong.
A penalty shout for England saw the all-Italy team of officials, including two video assistant referees, confer over a spot kick being awarded by man in the middle Davide Massa.
VARs Marco Guida and Massimiliano Irrati endorsed Massa’s decision that Dele Alli had been brought down from behind by Raphael Varrane.
The French defender was sent off for denial of a scoring opportunity, which still applies in the area if it is for holding or pushing, as deemed here.
However, Keith Hackett believes Alli lost his balance and that there was no actual foul.
It shows that even a review system is not foolproof and that it can be open to error. This was part of a FIFA trial in a high profile friendly that saw France win 3-2 after being pegged back to 2-2 by the England penalty.
Hackett said: “The view of myself and experienced colleagues is that Alli tripped himself up.
“As VARs, we would have reversed the penalty award and that would also have spared the red card.
“I think we have to accept that even VARs will not always eliminate controversy and prevent mistakes being made.
“We all want to see a speedy resolution when a decision is sent upstairs. I think what’s happened here is that they’ve rushed it.
“From some angles it does look a penalty. But I’ve seen one that shows it clearly wasn’t.
“At You Are The Ref we are in favour of the way FIFA are operating this. There is no need to subject referees themselves to publicly review incidents.
“But it’s important that decisions are right, so there is still work to be done.”