‘Testing is a disaster’: Video assistant referee system slammed by German stars Sandro Wagner and Sami Khedira
German internationals Sandro Wagner and Sami Khedira on Thursday heavily criticised the “disastrous” testing of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system in both Italy and Germany.
The technology is being tried in Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga this season with Fifa yet to announce whether it will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
But the testing has not gone well in either country.
Fans complain that pauses while the VAR analyses replays slow the game down, often leaving supporters and players alike bewildered at why decisions were made.
The system sparked a scandal in Germany on Monday when experienced ex-referee Hellmut Krug, head of the Bundesliga’s VAR centre in Cologne, was replaced by the German FA amid accusations he influenced decisions to favour Schalke, who he supports.
Hoffenheim striker Wagner, preparing for Friday’s international against England at Wembley, said the sacking of Krug undermined confidence in the VAR in Germany.
“It’s a complex thing to evaluate. In itself, it’s a good thing, but the implementation has been a disaster,” said Wagner.
“Someone has been replaced, because he is a fan of a team (Krug). We have to wait two minutes to get a decision and despite the video, too many mistakes are still being made. If it continues like that we should can the thing.”
The VAR was created to remove controversial decisions from matches, but the system has had the opposite effect with debate raging in both nations about the impact it makes on games.
Khedira, who plays for Italian champions Juventus, agreed with Wagner’s appraisal and said the VAR has also been troublesome in Serie A.
“The way it is used at the moment, it is not good,” said Khedira. “It will be good if we manage to regulate it better, but at the moment, it’s a disaster. I have the feeling that the referees are overwhelmed.
“It’s all a big jumble, in the Bundesliga and also in Serie A. The players do not know any more whether or not to celebrate after a goal. A lot of emotion and passion has been lost.”