Slow death: revamped VAR’s ugly A-League debut
A-League referees adviser Strebre Delovski has defended lengthy VAR delays, arguing decisions can't be rushed when there's "no margin for error".
Round one gave fans a glimpse into the frustration felt by English Premier League fans around the way the technology has interrupted the flow of the game and the newly implemented Hawkeye system has taken offside calls to a microscopic level.
The VAR made three interventions in Sydney FC's season-opening 3-2 win over Adelaide United on Friday night, and made the correct decision all three times.
The irritation from players, coaches and viewers came mainly through the length of time it took for a review to be undertaken.
On Friday, almost a minute of play continued after Michael Jakobsen's handball inside the penalty area before referee Alex King finally stopped proceedings to review footage on the recommendation of VAR Kris Griffiths-Jones.
He subsequently awarded Sydney a penalty.
On Saturday, Western Sydney and Central Coast continued playing for even longer before highly respected Iranian referee Alireza Faghani halted the game to review a possible handball from Dylan Fox.
He too awarded a penalty - and 2-1 winner - to the Wanderers, though not until three minutes after the incident.
New Adelaide United coach Gertjan Verbeek lamented the video review system was taking a "crazy" amount of time to settle contentious calls.
A more diplomatic Sky Blues coach Steve Corica said "it is taking a little bit too long but they obviously want to make sure they get the right decisions".
Delovski empathised with the frustrations but said the VAR's main priority was to get it right.
He also confirmed the time lapse between an incident and play being stopped is added to stoppage-time and therefore not lost.
"It takes some time to review and it takes some time to get the line up," Delovski told The Daily Telegraph.
"It's impossible to get the camera angles from the operator straight up.
"We'll look at all the camera angles available before making the decision. It'd be great if we could do it in five seconds - and I understand people want the game to flow - but ultimately we've made the correct decisions.
"Sometimes you have to look at it a couple of times to be 100 per cent sure the decision is wrong.
"We don't want to rush something just for the sake of time. There's no margin for error, we've got to be spot on."
Delovski also explained why the Fox handball was penalised, stating that, even if accidental, his arms were "in an unnatural position" as per IFAB's new handball interpretation.
Based on those new rules, he said fuming Mariners coach Alen Stajcic's contention that "I don't know how that handball can be seen as intentional" is irrelevant.
"This is still relatively new and it will take time for people to understand it," Delovski said.
"It's around education as well and it's just a matter of getting used to it like any rule change."
Also making waves is the Hawkeye technology recently bought by the A-League for $150,000 to avoid errors like that which occurred in the last grand final when Sydney striker Adam Le Fondre's goal against Perth was incorrectly disallowed for offside.
In that game, VAR Griffiths-Jones was forced to make an offside judgment against Michael Zullo with his naked eye, without any form of line across the screen let alone the fully 3D view offered by Hawkeye.
The flipside to that - and the cause of much debate in the Premier League - is that players are now penalised for straying as little as a millimetre offside, as was the case when Kosta Barbarouses' goal was disallowed on Friday night.
Elvis Kamsoba's Melbourne derby goal was also chalked off for offside but by a slightly greater margin.
The quest for perfection at the expense of spontaneity has polarised the international game, with former England striker Gary Lineker warning it could "suck the life" out of the game.
A-League boss Greg O'Rourke said he was happy with Hawkeye's rollout, and expected the VAR process to quicken over time.