FFA statement on VAR use in Sydney FC v Perth Glory match

Head of Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League Greg O’Rourke today addressed the lengthy delay of nearly 4 minutes during the Sydney FC v Perth Glory match to confirm a decision made by the referee Shaun Evans that involved Perth Glory player Joseph Mills handling the ball in the penalty area.

After the referee awarded the penalty, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), Strebre Delovski, checked two consecutive potential handball incidents by Mills to determine if the referee’s penalty decision was clearly wrong.

The VAR agreed that the first instance was not a penalty. For the second incident there was a potential that both arms came into contact with the ball and the VAR took some time to review all the camera angles. The VAR felt the right arm had not made contact and it was inconclusive whether the ball struck the left arm as it was an obstructed view from the cameras. In line with the protocol governing circumstances where it is not clear whether the original decision should be overruled, the VAR recommended the referee watch the replays on the monitor on the side of the field. The referee then confirmed his original decision to award a penalty.

Having explained the circumstances that led to the delay O’Rourke confirmed however that the VAR principle of minimum interference for maximum benefit was not achieved last night and the team will implement better communication protocols to ensure no repeat of this incident.

“In general the VAR has worked well ensuring that potential match changing decisions are correct and the score is a fair outcome,” said O’Rourke.

“We have in many ways led the world of Football in the introduction of this technology but despite our best intentions when you are introducing something new, there is a learning and continuous improvement cycle.

“This season we have only had 3 decisions go to referee review out of 16 games, so we should keep last night in perspective but acknowledge it was unacceptable from a time point of view and is being addressed,” concluded O’Rourke.