"I would like you to see the referees as the 21st team in the League," Carlos Velasco Carballo began telling the media present at the City of Soccer in Las Rozas. And it is that the president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) changed his face just at the moment in which he left aside the complaint of Mediapro to focus on the presentation of the 2019-20 arbitration season, the second with video arbitration (VAR ).
«I am very happy because we can assure you that this weekend the Spanish Football Federation (FEF) will make history, of which the referees have a little piece in addition. There is no other organization in the world that has been able to video arbitrate two different categories with a production level like the one we have. We have already tested in most stadiums with cameras and with our video arbitration room (VOR) at the same level of demand as a game, ”said Velasco Carballo, who assured 100% of the normal operation of the VAR in a weekend in which the First and Second football returns.
Beyond the video arbitration, of which the chief of the arbitrators commented jokingly that the objective is his disappearance in the absence of the error, Velasco Carballo took out his referee's chest, which was parading through the screens one by one in the purest a television presentation, and recalled the presence of Spanish referees in the European Under-21 Championship, the Under-20 World Cup and the Women's World Cup, the great summer football events.
The president of the CTA once again valued the enormous degree of preparation of the Spanish arbitration collective and explained the intense summer work in the field of training, marked by up to five seminars for the referees of First, Second, Second B and First female, as well as for delegates and informants.
The demand in first level football is increasing and that evolution is not foreign to the referees, whose preparation also has integrated VAR training that combines the physical aspect with the precision of the technological contribution. The status of each collegiate is examined by GPS and monitored on a monitoring platform with medical and physical performance analyzes, reports and stress tests. In addition, there has been a special impact on the 'off-line' training (without communication between the VOR and the main referee) with 140 matches, and live, with 105 other matches and several tournaments.
However, not only the main referees have modern training methods, since specific sessions have been implemented for attendees, called 'Instant Feedback'. In them constantly offside games are provoked and once several of them are judged with the naked eye, the level of success is checked on screens located in the center of the field.
All this combination of physical preparation and technical-tactical training has some main objectives, which, according to Velasco Carballo, go through «protecting players and the image of football, providing consistency and uniformity to arbitration decisions, reducing errors and improve control of added time and avoid wasting time ».
On the other hand, one of the controversial aspects of the VAR remains, as is its protocol of action, since video arbitration will continue to intervene only and exclusively in clear and manifest errors. However, it improves in the interconnection with the spectators, by showing the offside lines not only when the initial decision of the referee is changed, but also when the decision is maintained and even if there is no intervention of the video arbitration but the play is controversial
Already in specific aspects of the game, the arbitration collective wants to place special emphasis on avoiding any kind of abrupt game. Thus, the actions of foot on foot and entrances to the Achilles heel and from behind will be punished with yellow and the red will be shown before any play that puts the physical integrity of the opponent at risk. The use of the arms as a weapon will also be synonymous with expulsion, leaving the touches with the hands on the face of the opponent when the objective is protective and depending on the intensity of the gesture. Some nuances that the arbitration collective has wanted to explain through training sessions for players, technicians and media in which to raise doubts and express opinions.
Hawk-Eye, the new VAR technology
After imposing itself in the contest for the concession of video arbitration to Mediapro, Hawk-Eye will be this season the company in charge of providing the Technical Committee of Referees with the technological equipment necessary for the proper functioning of the VAR.
Developed in England, the system has reached up to 25 sports and is currently the technology used in 90% of football games that have VAR, as it has worked with FIFA, UEFA and the major European leagues. It also offers other services such as the goal line or automatic offside.
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