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German Soccer Officials Are Realizing That Video Replay Fucking Sucks

German Soccer Officials Are Realizing That Video Replay Fucking Sucks
From Deadspin - November 9, 2017

The scourge of video reviews of subjective refereeing decisions has already infected soccer. The predominating viewpointmostly among soccer fans who havent seen how replay and inevitable replay-creep have poisoned American sportson this unfortunate phenomenon has been that replay is good. But as officials in Germans Bundesliga are discovering during the leagues inaugural season of video replay, replay is actually terrible.

On Monday, German soccers governing body demoted Hellmut Krug, the Bundesligas Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system project manager. The official reason for the move relates to allegations of referee manipulation on Krugs part, with Krug being specifically accused of swaying video referees in favor of Schalke on two occassions during a match back in October. The league has also amended their rules, no longer allowing supervisors to communicate with video refs while the refs are working a match.

Krug denies the allegations, and some of the statements coming from the soccer authorities there make the decision to demote him soundmore like an appeasement of some loud and angry Schalke officials rather than an admittance that Krug was in fact compromised. What is evident is that lots of figures in German soccer do not like the replay system at all. From ESPN FC:

The news of Krugs demotion comes amid growing frustration among Bundesliga officials with the system.

When announcing in January that it would stage a trial period, the DFL said VAR will only be used for clear matters and in four separate situationsfor irregularities in the case of a goal decision, penalty box situations regarding penalty calls, red card offences unnoticed by the referee, and in cases of mistaken identity over a yellow or red card.

Eleven matchdays into the new season, there is a growing concern that VAR is failing to bring more fairness into decision-making and has served largely to increase confusion, which has been fuelled by a lack of communication from those in charge of the trial.

Nebulous rules, confusion about what kinds of acts do allow for post hoc investigation and which do not, and inconsistency all around. Sounds very familiar. An AP story has more specific grievances from annoyed Bundesligers:

Not all video-assisted decisions have been clear-cut and there have been other controversies, too. Cologne felt particularly aggrieved over a goal scored by Borussia Dortmund in their game in September, awarded after video consultation despite referee Felix Brych blowing his whistle before the ball crossed the line - signaling a break in play.

Not using VAR has also led to anger and frustration. Stuttgart was the victim last Saturday, when Dzenis Burnic was sent off early in its 3-1 loss in Hamburg with his second yellow card. Referee Guido Winkmann acknowledged after the game that it was unjust decision.

Its a game-deciding decision after 12 minutes thats totally false, said Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf, who blasted the video assistants inability to get involved. The person in Cologne cant say anything. I find that ridiculous, that theres someone there professionally whos not allowed say anything. It doesnt make any sense.

[...]

Fans are also upset, frustrated by the breaks in games while referees consult monitors on the sidelines, then by goals reversed after celebrations, or other decisions going against their teams - even when the decisions are technically correct.

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