VAR in the firing line after Serbia denied penalty

VAR in the firing line after Serbia denied penalty
Referee Matt Conger from New Zealand watches the VAR during the match between Nigeria and Iceland.

Samara - Serbia were denied what appeared a blatant penalty in their defeat to Switzerland



By Reuters

Published: Sat 23 Jun 2018, 11:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Jun 2018, 1:24 AM

Critics of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system were handed ample ammunition when Serbia were somehow denied what appeared a blatant penalty in their defeat to Switzerland on Friday.
Serbia fell to a 2-1 loss in Kaliningrad with Xherdan Shaqiri snatching a last-minute breakaway goal, but it could have been very different had Aleksandar Mitrovic been awarded a penalty.
Midway through the second half, Switzerland defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schar both grabbed hold of the Serbia striker, dragging him to the ground in the penalty area.
German referee Felix Brych waved play on and inexplicably the decision stood, despite the VAR system being in use and designed to prevent those types of controversies.
Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic kept his council in his post-match news conference, refusing to condemn the officials.
"As far as the referee is concerned, it is not up to me to comment or to berate the referee, it is up to you to assess that," he told reporters. The Serbian football association vice president and former international Savo Milosevic was less reticent, saying it was the second decision to have gone against Serbia after Mitrovic had a penalty appeal turned down in their opening Group E win over Costa Rica.
"I understand maybe the referee didn't see it, but that's why we put VAR on. What are (those) guys doing up there?" Milosevic was quoted as saying in the media.
"Two decisions in two games is too much. This is a World Cup."


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