The Whistle: Round 4 refereeing and VAR incidents explained

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

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Ben, two key handball decisions on the weekend. Let’s start with the decision in Melbourne where Wellington Phoenix were awarded a free-kick outside the penalty area.

Because it is a possible penalty incident, the VAR checks this as part of the VAR protocol. The VAR gets involved because the contact between the player and the ball clearly and obviously occurs inside the penalty area. On viewing the footage, the VAR clearly sees that the ball hits the left hand that is tucked into the defender's body and not the right arm which was away from the body. The VAR recommends that the referee review the incident and look at the replay to see if he still thinks it is a handball offence.

The referee thought the ball hit the right arm. Upon reviewing the footage, the referee realises that the ball did not hit the right arm and that there was no handball offence. The referee decides to change his decision as he realises he made a clear and obvious error. 

When the referee stops play without an offence being committed, a drop ball is the correct way restart play.


What about the handball decision over in Adelaide where Adelaide were also awarded a free-kick outside the penalty area. 

The VAR checks the incident to confirm whether the handball occurs inside or outside the penalty area and then recommends an on-field review.

After viewing all of the available camera angles the referee is unable to definitively say that the offence occurs inside the penalty area.

The referee upholds his original decision of a free-kick outside the penalty area.