August 13 – Brazilian club matches truncated by the intervention of VAR have stirred a nationwide debate over the pros and cons of the new technology. To remedy the situation, Sao Paulo giants Palmeiras have demanded the clubs meet the CBF’s refereeing committee.

The Brazilian top flight introduced the video technology this season for the first time, but since April the system has been plagued by controversy in the application of the laws of the game and the lengths of time it has taken for referees and their VAR teams to come to a decision. The result has been added time of often eight or nine minutes, sometimes exceeding ten minutes, to make up for the time VAR has spent reviewing game action.

In a visit to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) Palmeiras president Mauricio Galiotte suggested to the CBF’s head of refereeing Leonardo Gaciba that the clubs and the CBF referees should meet to discuss the use of the VAR and look for ways to improve its use.

Galiotte has always defended the introduction of the video technology. In 2018, Palmeiras suffered what they considered an injustice in the final of the 2018 Paulista State Championship, causing them to demand the Sao Paulo Football Federation overturn a refereeing decision. Since then the club has actively supporting the use of technology. But even their patience was tested on Sunday following a 2-2 draw with Bahia that was marked by VAR controversy. 

Similarly VAR intervention in the encounter between Botafogo and Athletico Paraneanse at the Rio’s Olympic Stadium also suffered from time delays. Eventually eight minutes were added, even though in real time the VAR had taken up more than nine minutes.

The concern over the repeated slow interventions of VAR have not only broken the rhythm of matches in the Brazilian topflight but are now potentially threatening the allocated two-hour time slot broadcasters dedicate to a game. 

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Paul Nicholson