Spain sticking to plan to introduce VAR next season
By TALES AZZONI
Nov. 27, 2017
MADRID (AP) — The Spanish league is not going to rush implementing video assistance review even after the refereeing mistake that cost Barcelona a goal at the weekend.
The mistake on Sunday in a 1-1 draw between league leader Barcelona and second-place Valencia reignited debate about La Liga being the only top league in Europe without a system to assist referees. But the league said on Monday it will keep its plans to implement VAR next season.
The main reason for the delay in VAR's introduction is because La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation must reach an agreement over the system to be used. The system also has to be approved by FIFA.
Calls to install video review and goal-line technology only increased after Lionel Messi was denied a goal when his shot from outside the area clearly crossed the goal-line. The match in Valencia was scoreless when Messi thought he'd scored in the first half at Mestalla Stadium.
"Everybody saw it, except those who actually had to see it," Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta said. "It was very clear. It's a shame, because in these plays the technology would be ideal. I'm sure that those responsible are taking note so that it can be implemented and we can avoid these problems in clear situations like this, when there is no possible interpretation."
Goalkeeper Neto was unable to hold on to Messi's shot and let the ball slip between his legs toward the goal. It bounced clearly over the line, but the linesman did not see it and let the play continue after Neto rushed back to swat the ball away.
Barcelona players immediately complained to the linesman and the referee. After seeing the play on television at halftime, they complained again, and after the match Messi used his hands to gesture to the referee how much the ball had crossed the line.
Barcelona also had a goal not count last season when a ball crossed the line in a league match against Real Betis. This season it benefited when the officiating crew did not see a ball cross the byline in a play that led to its goal in a match against Malaga.
"Technology will change things and will improve football," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Monday. "As a coach and someone working in football, I want it to improve, without a doubt. We'll gain some things and at the same time lose other things, but it's inevitable."
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