The Whistle - Round 14

Each week a-league.com.au will be speaking with FFA Director of Referees Ben Wilson to review some of the contentious refereeing and VAR incidents from the weekend’s matches.

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Ben, let’s start on Friday night with the offside decision around the second Adelaide United goal.

In this incident the VAR checked for a possible offside in the lead up to the goal. The VAR does not use the Fox Sports offside line because it is not calibrated or considered accurate enough to use for decision making purposes. Using the camera angles available, the VAR determined that the assistant referee’s decision that Nikola Mileusnic was onside was not clearly wrong.

As part of the round review, the Referees Department has determined that Mileusnic was in an offside position. This meets the threshold for clearly and obviously wrong and the VAR should have recommended that the goal be disallowed.


Later in the same match there was also a potential penalty for the Wanderers not awarded.

In this incident there was contact between Mathieu Cordier and Ryan Strain in the Adelaide United penalty area. The referee judged that this was normal side-on-side contact between two players jostling for the ball and allowed play to continue. The VAR determined that the referee’s decision was not clearly wrong and the decision was upheld.


In Sydney Jason Hoffman received a red card, can you talk us through that incident?

In this incident there was a clean challenge between Brandon O’Neill and Jason Hoffman. Brandon O’Neill then accidentally steps on Jason Hoffman’s leg while he is on the ground. This is missed by the on-field match officials but it is not a red card offence. Hoffman then deliberately kicks out at O’Neill contacting his upper leg. The referee was looking directly at Hoffman, sees this action and sends Hoffman from the field for violent conduct.

The MRP has subsequently classified it as serious unsporting conduct which carries a lower minimum sanction.


At Gosford there was confusion around an offside decision early in the match, are you able to clarify the situation?

In this incident the assistant referee flagged a Brisbane Roar player offside. As the attacker was closing in on goal the referee did not immediately blow his whistle and he allowed play to continue. This meant that the VAR would have been able to check and potentially overturn the offside decision if a goal had been scored. In situations where a shot on goal is imminent and the offside decision is close, it is expected that the assistant referee waits for the result of the shot on goal before flagging for offside. If the assistant referee flags too quickly, the referee can choose to allow play to continue as happened in this situation.


Later in the same match there was an on-field review for a potential penalty, was this the correct outcome?

In this incident the referee was unable to see in real time if the ball hit the arm or the stomach of Daniel Bowles and so he allowed play to continue. The referee then decided himself to make an on-field review to view the replay for a possible missed penalty kick. The referee viewed the incident and decided this was not a deliberate handball offence because it came off the player’s body into his arm. This is a judgement call and the Referees Department supports the referee in this decision.