Concerns over costly VAR decisions at Qatar World Cup deepen

The video assistant referee (VAR) is featuring for only the second time in the Fifa World Cup tournament, having made its first presence in Russia 2018.

The ongoing tournament kicked off with controversy when Ecuador had their goal disallowed by a VAR review in their opening match against Qatar on Sunday.

The decision of the referee to overturn Enner Valancia’s goal was after the VAR intervened and called the goal offside, apparently by an inch of Pervis Estupinan’s knee.


Apart from thumping Iran 6-2 in their Group B opener, England thought they should have netted more goals after Harry Maguire was brought down by Iranian defender inside the box.

Gareth Southgate, the Three Lions coach, was left puzzled by the decision, because he believed there was enough contact to warrant a penalty.

The latest contested incident against the VAR was a penalty awarded to Portugal by referee Ismail Elfath in the 62nd minute, when Cristiano Ronaldo was pushed over by Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu in their Group H encounter on Thursday evening.

The American referee could have gone up to the screen and have a second and third look at the incident, but he chose to go against that option.

Following emphatic claims that Ghana were robbed, Elfath’s decision not to review the incident caused an uproar on social media, and a call to Fifa was made for the official to be suspended.

Could karma be taking its course against The Black Stars of Ghana, as they found their way to the Qatar World Cup finals via a controversial penalty awarded to them against South Africa.


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