Cristiano Ronaldo was left seething when a stoppage-time goal he rightfully scored was disallowed by the referee during a World Cup 2022 qualifier with Portugal against Serbia.
The ball had clearly made it past the line before being cleared, but VAR and goal-line technology were not implemented in the game.
The disallowed goal denied the victory for Portugal, who had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Ronaldo was visibly frustrated with the decision not to award the goal, storming off the pitch and throwing his captain’s armband to the ground.
Why do the World Cup 2022 qualification matches not have VAR?
Because not all stadiums used for World Cup qualifiers have supplied with goal-line technology, it was agreed that it would be unfair if the systems were used in some venues and not for others.
The sport’s governing bodies decided that no qualifiers would be using the technology in a move to ensure fairness throughout the qualification stages.
Portugal head coach Fernando Santos, however, was unhappy with the reasoning and put forward his demands that VAR and goal-line technology become implemented for the later stages of qualification.
“The referee apologised and I have great respect for him, but it is not permissible that, in a competition like this, there is no VAR or goal-line technology,” Santos told A Bola following the draw against Serbia.
“The ball was half a metre inside the goal, there was no obstacle between the goalkeeper and the goal line. It was very clear.”
Ronaldo later took to Instagram to explain his anger that led him to storm off the pitch.
“Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest privileges of my life and fills me with pride,” Ronaldo said. “I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change.
“But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being harmed.”
The referee who officiated the match, Danny Makkelie, offered an apology to both Ronaldo and the Portugal team after the game.
“As per FIFA’s policies, all I can say is that I apologised to the national coach, Fernando Santos, and to the Portuguese team for what happened,” Makkelie A Bola.
“As a referee team, we always work hard to make good decisions. When we are in the news in this manner, it doesn’t make us happy at all.”
UEFA had initially intended to use VAR in the World Cup qualifying matches, but then decided that the means of implementation were far too complex due to the Covid-19 pandemic – despite such protocol being used in the Champions League and Europa League.
VAR requires video assistant referees using live feeds of the game in multiple angles and high-speed technology to fully work.
“In 2019 UEFA had proposed to FIFA the implementation of VAR in the current World Cup qualifiers,” UEFA said in a statement. “The impact of the pandemic on operational and logistical capabilities led UEFA to delay the implementation of VAR in the Europa League group phase (to 2021-22 instead of 2020-21) as well as to withdraw the proposal to implement VAR in the 2022 European qualifiers.
“VAR was also not in use in the UEFA Nations League group stage in the autumn of 2020 and has therefore to-date never been used in UEFA national team qualifying group stage matches.”
Will goal-line technology & VAR be used at World Cup 2022?
Yes, VAR will be used at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
It will be the second time that VAR will be used at a World Cup tournament, after the 2018 edition in Russia.
There were a number of controversies during the 2018 World Cup, such as Saudi Arabia being given a second penalty against Egypt and Sweden’s Marcus Berg denied a spot-kick against Germany.
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