FIFA has introduced new technology in the ongoing World Cup to reduce the margin of errors. The idea is to ensure that contentious decisions are dealt with on the basis of facts and not perception.
When it comes to offside decisions, the AI ​​tools used are usually successful – an example being Vinicius Junior’s Brazil disallowed goal against Switzerland – when cameras rightly caught Richarlison in an offside position. when the first ball was played. But when it comes to imposing penalties, it is often perception that takes precedence and there have been decisions that give the impression that the men charged with VAR intimidate the referee on the field into answering certain calls.
TOI looks at some of the decisions that fueled the debate:
PORTUGAL SCORES A KICK IN MATCH AGAINST URUGUAY:
It was in the 89th minute and Uruguay were desperate for the equaliser. Portugal, on the counterattack, were trying to sneak into the Uruguayan penalty area when the ball hit the hand of the Uruguayan defender Jose Gimenez as he tried to cushion his fall to the ground. Gimenez didn’t bulk up his body and, by law, no penalty is given when a player falls to the ground and the ball inadvertently hits his hand. But VAR room officials asked referee Alireza Faghani to review and the Iranian changed his mind to award the penalty which was converted by Bruno Fernandez to end the game. The Uruguayan players have been gutted. Experts were also tough on the decision. “The referee had an absolute nightmare there… You can’t give a penalty for that,” said former England winger Joe Cole.
RONALDO’S SLICE OF CHANCE IN THE GHANA GAME:
The game was scoreless until then and Portugal couldn’t make much progress. But as Ronaldo fell to the ground following a Mohammad Salisu challenge, the referee initially did not award a penalty because the contact was not strong enough. It was a judgment call by the referee, but VAR officials stopped play and insisted that US referee Ismail Elfath take a second look. The penalty was given on the basis of the slight contact and not on the impact he
caused, allowing Ronaldo to score and set up the victory. As the footballing world was divided over the decision, the FIFA panel said it was Ronaldo’s “genius” and “intelligence” that earned him the penalty.
CANADA REFUSED A PENALTY AGAINST BELGIUM:
The game was still scoreless after Thibaut Courtois saved a first penalty awarded to Canada. This time Eden Hazard played a back pass which went straight to the Canadian striker Tajon Buchanan, who was in an offside position. But according to the laws, when a deliberate back pass is played, it doesn’t matter if the opposing player is offside or not. As Buchanan took control of the ball, Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen knocked him down. But the linesman had mistakenly raised his flag for offside instead of allowing play and that meant VAR couldn’t step in and signal the error. Canada were denied a real penalty, consequently they lost the match 1-0 and are now excluded from the World Cup.
LAUTARO MARTINEZ OFFSIDE NOTICE AGAINST SAUDI ARABIA:
Argentina were leading when Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez kicked the ball past the Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais to make it 2-0. But after a long review, the goal was scored for offside. Later, in a series of photographs published by Flashscore, VAR appeared not to be watching Saudi Arabia’s back. Yasser Alshahrani who kept Martinez by his side. Messi had drifted into an offside position but he was not interfering in play. Argentina then lost the game 2-1 and now face a sink or swim game against Poland to advance to the knockout stages. of final.
ENGLAND DISMISSED A SENTENCE, BUT IRAN OBTAINED ONE FOR THE SAME OFFENCE:
England defender Harry Maguire was tackled to the ground by the Iranian defense during a corner kick but the referee chose to ignore calls for a penalty. But deep into second-half added time, England defender John Stones was ruled for shooting Iran striker Mehdi Taremi’s shirt with the VAR team and the referee ruling it as a penalty. Iran still lost the match 6-2, but in a tight group where goal difference matters, it remains to be seen if the decision plays a role in qualifying for the knockout stages.



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