TAKE a look at this VAR image that apparently proves Michael Beale’s Ibrox side’s third goal to make it 3-2 at Motherwell yesterday was valid.
A quick glance may lead you to believing Fashion Sakala is just onside in the lead-up to the strike that was eventually put over the line by Tod Cantwell in the 62nd minute after a series of rebounds.
However, upon closer inspection, it appears as though there is a discrepancy in the angle of the line conjured up by the technicians in the Glasgow office and the reality of the pitch at Fir Park.
The line should surely run parallel with that of the 18-yard box. That, we are informed, is the gauge for calibration. That does not look the case from this image.
If the line appeared in a more acceptable and reasonable location, Sakala would be offside.
Surely, even in this wonderful word of new technology, it’s the markings on the actual football pitch which are the one true guidelines. Anything technicians can generate is secondary – the game is played on the field and not on a computer in an office in the city.
We understand that the lines are calibrated to ensure the gridline is true to the field of play. We also accept the eye can play tricks, but surely not to the extent we witnessed in Lanarkshire yesterday.
OFFSIDE…Filipe Jota is preparing to race onto Kyogo Furuhashi’s pass in the game at Fir Park in November. A wrongly-positioned VAR camera ruled it out for offside.
It seems VAR have a problem with that part of the universe. It was at the same position where Filipe Jota had what looked like a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out on November 9.
The Hoops were leading 1-0 through a Kyogo Furuhashi strike in a fairly tense encounter with the home side trying desperately to get back into the contest.
Just before the hour mark, Kyogo released a raking pass from inside his own half to send Jota scampering clear on the left with Stephen O’Donnell in pursuit. The Portuguese winger raced into the box before nonchalantly lobbing the ball over the outrushing Liam Kelly to double the visitors’ advantage.
Or so we thought. Referee Willie Collum’s standside assistant frantically waved his flag to signal all was not well.
New technology then stepped in to completely confuse the issue when the live broadcast cameras reviewed the situation.
Instead of taking an angle that was in line with the play, the live feed picked up a camera that was at the OTHER end of the pitch.
PICK IT OUT…Filipe Jota clips the ball over Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly for what looked a legitimate goal – but VAR thought otherwise.
The crucial VAR line was drawn to represent whether the player was offside or not, but it was far from decisive and left viewers questioning its accuracy. They also wondered why a camera that was at the correct end of the pitch wasn’t used.
The Celtic hierarchy demanded answers and two days after the game – thankfully won 2-1 by the champions – the Scottish FA lamely admitted the VAR camera that was in line with Jota “did not capture an appropriate view of the incident”.
Former Well chief executive Alan Burrows, now at Aberdeen, confirmed that cameras on BOTH 18-yard lines at Fir Park were operational.
It’s believed the camera at the correct end of the pitch – operated by broadcasters QTV – was NOT focusing on the run of play and, instead, was trained on the dug-outs.
IT STINKS…Filipe Jota gives his thoughts on VAR’s decison at Fir Park in November.
The SFA statement, as reported in CQN four months ago, read: “Referee Operations can confirm that during a VAR review at Motherwell v Celtic, the footage from the relevant 18-yard line camera did not capture an appropriate view of the incident.
“While the broadcast footage was only able to show a wider camera angle for viewers, Hawk-Eye technology is designed to calibrate an accurate offside decision from either of the two 18-yard line camera positions, with the subsequent VAR review determining that the Celtic player had received the ball in an offside position.
“We have provided feedback to the host broadcaster on the incident as part of our regular review of the system operation.”
It must be admitted life has not been dull since Celtic were introduced to VAR back on October 22 in the 4-3 win over Hearts at Tynecastle. We all know what happened that day in the capital.
We were warned to anticipate teething problems. What can we expect with nine Premiership games and potentially two Scottish Cup-ties to be played before the curtain comes down on this season with the soccer showpiece due at Hampden on June 3?
We could be in for a bumpy ride, folks.