With the season over, we attended Spain’s football federation’s conference which is an annual fixture to discuss the refereeing over the last season. The head of refereeing at the department, Carlos Velasco Carballo was joined by VAR chief Carlos Clos Gomez.
“It was a difficult season and an atypical season, with three months of no action and with more noise from the media than we’d like and than is good for the competition,” he said.”There was a lot of tension and a difficult climate was created for the referees.”
He went on to suggest that maybe it was a lack of knowledge of the rules that has led to some of the criticism of referees.”Sometimes the referees or VAR get a decision right, but then that is said to be a mistake and then that turns into a criticism and then that turns into controversy, accumulated stats and press releases,” he said.
“So, a correct decision ends up being seen as a scandal.That has happened a lot”.
“People have questioned the referees and their knowledge of the rules and I won’t allow that”.
“You see who does know the rules of football.”
Carballo said that VAR can’t completely get rid of football refereeing errors, it had certainly helped a lot. VAR can’t fix all errors because VAR is a person, not a machine, and VAR can still make mistakes,” he said.
“But on few occasions, even if it can happen.We must be honest, as referees can make mistakes and VAR too”.
“We must be sincere and recognize that and be self-critical”.
“VAR has meant that offside goals no longer exist, that legal goals aren’t ruled out now, that we know if fouls were inside or outside the area, that violent play is removed, that goals are ruled out if the ball went out of play, that handball goals don’t stand, that the very clear penalties that a referee misses are given and that mistaken identity is history”.
“Our measure for correct decisions is up from last season, especially regarding assistant referees”.
“VAR has helped to fix more errors”.
“The referees have been better than ever, and the assistants and VAR too”
“Now any errors that we have on the pitch can be solved thanks to VAR”.
“There have never been fewer errors than now.”