VAR needs time: Alireza Faghani

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Tehran Times – TEHRAN, Iran international referee Alireza Faghani has defended the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), saying video reviews prevented some major mistakes from being made.

Faghani along with his countrymen Reza Sokhandan and Mohammad Mansouri took charge of 2018 World Cup third-place match between Belgium and England.

The Iranian referee didn’t use VAR in four matches he officiated in Russia but he says it helps to prevent the mistakes.

“VAR minimizes refereeing mistakes during the competitions. VAR is not complete but it will undoubtedly have to improve in the future,” Faghani said in an interview with Iran’s state-run TV.

“In 2009, France striker Thierry Henry intentionally handled the ball to set up William Gallas’s decisive goal against the Republic of Ireland in World Cup play-off in Paris. France went through thanks to a refereeing error and Ireland were eliminated with a sense of injustice,” he stated.

“In Iran and Portugal match, the referee (Enrique Caceres) awarded Cristiano Ronaldo a penalty following a VAR intervention. And also Iran were awarded a penalty in added time. We can also mention Saeid Ezatolahi’s goal against Spain which was disallowed for offside,” the Iranian referee continued.

“I remember a match between Persepolis and Zob Ahan in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. I gave Zob Ahan a penalty after I thought Persepolis defender Mohsen Bengar touched the ball but replays showed that it was a mistake decision. Persepolis’ fans still criticize me after the years for that decision. So, I think VAR helps football,” Faghani concluded.

According to reports, a total of 455 incidents were checked during the 64 matches played at the World Cup, for an average of 7.1 checks per match, while there were 20 VAR reviews.

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