Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Wrestling at corners - they're all at it

It's hardly surprising that VARS can't cope with the anarchy of corner kicks.
British TV made a huge deal last night of two corners where Harrry Kane was clearly wrestled to the ground. But at the same time, English attackers and their Tunisian markers were indulged in all kinds of nefarious behaviour that makes it virtually impossible to make a clear ruling at a corner.
English pundits screamed for a penalty for their beloved England, but the sad truth is that there were probably three or four separate fouls happening at the same time.
The referee was probably watching the action itself, the drop zone where the challenge for the ball actually takes place. Meanwhile, around the rest of the penalty area, players were pushing, grabbing, holding each other in a perverse ballet that has gradually developed over the years into an anarchic situation that referees simply cannot deal with.
And last night we found out that several dozen TV cameras and expert Video Assistant Referees sitting in Moscow, far from the Volgograd action, were equally incapable of deciding whether a penalty should be awarded.
Presumably, the VARS in Moscow ruled there was not clear evidence for a penalty because there was just too much going on in the penalty area, too many players fouling each other. It would indeed appear that in one of the incidents, England's Stones pushed his Tunisian marker to make space for himself.
So what's the solution? It would appear that the only way to go is for teams to be advised that unfair decisions will be given, that the referee will punish the worst foul he sees, until the players learn to behave themselves.
Far from satisfactory it's true, but a lot more honest than the nonsense spouted by FIFA's refereeing bosses Massimo Busacca and Pierluigi Collina before the World Cup. With 25 cameras, Busacca said, "it will be quite impossible to miss fouls. "
"When it's clear there is an obvious mistake, the VAR intervenes," he said.  Note use of the word "clear". Last night it may have been clear that Kane was fouled, but it was also clear that several other fouls were taking place at the same time, so which one to penalise?

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