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MLS is Back offside VAR review

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RefIADad

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(I'm hoping this isn't geo-locked).

In last night's MLS is Back tournament semifinals, there was a very close offside/no offside decision. Video of the situation is below.


If you look at the time, from the time of the goal to the time VAR completed its review (and deemed that the video evidence did not produce a clear and obvious error, so the call on the field stood), there was about 1 minute, 40 seconds of elapsed time (85:44 to 87:25 or something close to that). MLS does not use the lines like England uses.

In my opinion, this is how an offside VAR review should work. The elapsed time was not overly long, and the video did not show a clear assistant referee error. The call on the field was allowed to stand. Philadelphia Union fans may be upset with the decision, but it was not a clear and obvious error.
 

Big Cat

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(I'm hoping this isn't geo-locked).

In last night's MLS is Back tournament semifinals, there was a very close offside/no offside decision. Video of the situation is below.


If you look at the time, from the time of the goal to the time VAR completed its review (and deemed that the video evidence did not produce a clear and obvious error, so the call on the field stood), there was about 1 minute, 40 seconds of elapsed time (85:44 to 87:25 or something close to that). MLS does not use the lines like England uses.

In my opinion, this is how an offside VAR review should work. The elapsed time was not overly long, and the video did not show a clear assistant referee error. The call on the field was allowed to stand. Philadelphia Union fans may be upset with the decision, but it was not a clear and obvious error.
Nowhere near quick enough. Needs to be done in seconds (or not at all) to avoid killing the game
 

RefIADad

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Nowhere near quick enough. Needs to be done in seconds (or not at all) to avoid killing the game

Remember that my timing was from the ball going into the net, not the start of the review. So let's say there was 15-20 seconds before the formal review actually started. That means we are in the 1:20-1:30 range. For a call of that magnitude that late in the game, I'm OK with that timing (but it would be on the high side of my time limit).
 

Big Cat

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Remember that my timing was from the ball going into the net, not the start of the review. So let's say there was 15-20 seconds before the formal review actually started. That means we are in the 1:20-1:30 range. For a call of that magnitude that late in the game, I'm OK with that timing (but it would be on the high side of my time limit).
I understand. I'd just rather have the wrong decision that sit in a stand wondering what's going on for the duration. Can't celebrate the goal anymore
 

GraemeS

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I understand. I'd just rather have the wrong decision that sit in a stand wondering what's going on for the duration. Can't celebrate the goal anymore
No. You wouldn't. That's a flat out lie I'm afraid and I can't let it sit there unchallenged.

You're seriously suggesting that you'd rather the team you support loses a game (possibly knocking them out of a cup or leading to relegation) than have to wait 2 minutes for a VAR review that might disallow a winning goal scored against you? Absolute rubbish I'm afraid.

I'm always happy to discuss the method of how VAR's been implemented, and I'll happily agree that showing nothing to those in the ground while it's going on is stupid. But none of that makes a stance of "decide in 5 seconds or don't bother" anything other than ridiculous.
 

Alex Rush-Fear

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No. You wouldn't. That's a flat out lie I'm afraid and I can't let it sit there unchallenged.

You're seriously suggesting that you'd rather the team you support loses a game (possibly knocking them out of a cup or leading to relegation) than have to wait 2 minutes for a VAR review that might disallow a winning goal scored against you? Absolute rubbish I'm afraid.

I'm always happy to discuss the method of how VAR's been implemented, and I'll happily agree that showing nothing to those in the ground while it's going on is stupid. But none of that makes a stance of "decide in 5 seconds or don't bother" anything other than ridiculous.
Although I do agree with this, at the same time I would argue that if a factual call like offside takes more than a minute then it's unlikely to be an obvious error!
 

Big Cat

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It's no secret that I think football was a better game without VAR. So that naturally implies that I'd take a wrong decision over a delay and subdued celebration. There's nothing remarkable about my view of the world. The elite game has gone down the crapper
 

GraemeS

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Although I do agree with this, at the same time I would argue that if a factual call like offside takes more than a minute then it's unlikely to be an obvious error!
While you're right in terms of the English language use of the term "obvious error", unfortunately, we need to speak IFAB here! Even for the simplest off offsides with no lines required, you've still got to select the right frame, then flick to a different camera to make your actual decision.

For the slightly more complex ones where line drawing is needed (even if we go back to simple but misleading flat lines on the ground), you've got to do the above, then select the contact points, then compare. And don't forget, this is as you correctly note, a factual decision, so the laws don't currently allow for "umpires call". Once a review has been initiated, a frame must be selected. And once that frame is selected, the VAR is obliged to generate a definitive answer - even if that requires zooming in and being minutely precise about the placement of the lines.

And then of course, there are the really complex ones, where a subjective element of who played the ball might also have to be considered in addition to all of the above. That could require multiple angles, scrolling the video back and forwards before you even get to a point of drawing lines. Rare, but definitely justifying way more time than a rushed 60 seconds.

Again, at various points above we're going back to us disagreeing with the precise text of the law and what VAR is and isn't allowed to do. But even getting into that discussion, I really don't see an argument for an arbitrary time limit - be that @Big Cat 's "a few seconds" or your minute. Do a review and do it properly, or don't do it at all.
 

JamesL

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Although I do agree with this, at the same time I would argue that if a factual call like offside takes more than a minute then it's unlikely to be an obvious error!
We're on a lose lose with VAR.
It's a million miles away from what people want, because what people want is an impossible dream.
It appears people want 100% accuracy with zero hold up. Not everyone will be happy. I've said this a thousand times, you can lock 100 referees in a room, show them the very same clip, and you will come away with at least 2 or 3 differing outcomes.
Those that say, I don't want the lines will Change their mind when the lines prove a player was offside and they concede a goal. And those that want the lines will say they don't want them when a player is ruled offside by a stray pubic hair and a goal for them is ruled out..
I just can't see the happy medium where everyone accepts the protocol or principles of VAR
 

socal lurker

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We're on a lose lose with VAR.
It's a million miles away from what people want, because what people want is an impossible dream.
It appears people want 100% accuracy with zero hold up. Not everyone will be happy. I've said this a thousand times, you can lock 100 referees in a room, show them the very same clip, and you will come away with at least 2 or 3 differing outcomes.
Those that say, I don't want the lines will Change their mind when the lines prove a player was offside and they concede a goal. And those that want the lines will say they don't want them when a player is ruled offside by a stray pubic hair and a goal for them is ruled out..
I just can't see the happy medium where everyone accepts the protocol or principles of VAR

People want 100% accuracy when their team is disadvantaged, and prompt conclusions that it was too close to change when the call benefits their own team. Kinda like how they want handling and PKs called . . .

I'd still vote to abolish video review. But to the extent we are stuck with it, I like the MLS model with no lines--they do correct the big misses, but otherwise respect the call on the field.
 

one

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I don't have a problem with technology being used to determine factual decision such as if a player is offside. But the way "the line" is used is badly flawed and can largely be disputed. This is largely due to the obvious human involvement of it (someone is sitting there and move line around the image to fit the placements). I would like to see a GLT or equally as good tennis hawk eye style display where the human factor is taken out of it (or at least it seems that way). Both the GLT and Tennis hawk eye have a margin of error greater than some of the decision they make, however unless it is an obvious technology fail, whatever decision made is accepted by everyone and undisputed.

Also a big factor in this is what the public sees. Just like GLT and tennis hawk eye, there must be a virtual animated display of where the players are (or the ball) in relation to each other with crisp images. The animated display must be shown at exact time of contact with ball (also shown on animation), and shown on both the stadium screen and TV's.

And the best part is it is usually all over in 10-15 seconds.
 

zarathustra

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I don't have a problem with technology being used to determine factual decision such as if a player is offside. But the way "the line" is used is badly flawed and can largely be disputed. This is largely due to the obvious human involvement of it (someone is sitting there and move line around the image to fit the placements). I would like to see a GLT or equally as good tennis hawk eye style display where the human factor is taken out of it (or at least it seems that way). Both the GLT and Tennis hawk eye have a margin of error greater than some of the decision they make, however unless it is an obvious technology fail, whatever decision made is accepted by everyone and undisputed.

Also a big factor in this is what the public sees. Just like GLT and tennis hawk eye, there must be a virtual animated display of where the players are (or the ball) in relation to each other with crisp images. The animated display must be shown at exact time of contact with ball (also shown on animation), and shown on both the stadium screen and TV's.

And the best part is it is usually all over in 10-15 seconds.
I think the problem with using technology for offside is that you are always going to need a human to make the final decision.

You still need someone to decide where a player was when the ball was played, and whether a player was gaining an advantage from being in an offside position etc.

Hawkeye also relies on the cameras being calibrated to look at fixed areas of the pitch i.e. the goal.

Any technology that go do all of this without human intervention doesn't exist, and if it did it would be prohibitively expensive.

It seems to me that in the UK at least they e forgotten that VAR is only supposed to be used to correct obvious errors, if you need 3 minutes and six lines to tell that an attackers big toe was offside then it wasn't an obvious error.
 

one

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VAR is only supposed to be used to correct obvious errors,
Not entirely correct. Ant that is what has cause the issue with offside. It was also introduced to correct factual decision errors (obvious or not), and because offside is a factual decision, it falls within that category.

The whole point of my post was if you make the offside decision review as accepted and quick as GLT then we wont have a problem with it. We may not have (or we may) the technology or money to make that happen, but until we do, don't mess around with half baked solution
 

GraemeS

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It seems to me that in the UK at least they e forgotten that VAR is only supposed to be used to correct obvious errors, if you need 3 minutes and six lines to tell that an attackers big toe was offside then it wasn't an obvious error.
Again, under current interpretation, this is not relevant. The "clear and obvious" guideline that is constantly quoted relates to the high bar for subjective decisions to be overturned.

Rightly or wrongly, the question of if a player is in an offside position is considered to be factual, so C&O doesn't come into it. As I said above, once a VAR review for offside has been initiated, the VAR is obliged to reach a definitive conclusion: is the player in an offside position or not? The option of going "well it's pretty close so I'll stick with the onfield decision" is not available to them.

We can have a separate discussion about if that's how it should work, but it's important to remember that the VAR this season has been obliged to follow the method I've described, NOT what you propose. A VAR who has given an offside because of a "big toe" is doing the job they're hired to do and will be given a good observation score because of it.
 

onthebrink

Well-Known Member
I believe the technology they use in the Champions League etc. is exactly the same as the Premier League (as we saw with Wolves goal last night). The only difference is the Premier League have shown people the process of drawing the lines on for transparency but are going to stop that next season and just give the 'final answer' like the other leagues do.

The 'no lines at all' MLS model works in theory but I believe this is more because of cost. They used to do this in A League but there were instances when the 'wrong' decision was made and broadcasters/clubs/fans added the lines in yesterday and proved VAR had got it wrong so they started to use lines to be more accurate.

At some point, I think there will be an instant calibration of offside decisions (perhaps with some human input to confirm if the player is interfering, etc.) but not sure how long that will take.
 

GraemeS

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I believe the technology they use in the Champions League etc. is exactly the same as the Premier League (as we saw with Wolves goal last night). The only difference is the Premier League have shown people the process of drawing the lines on for transparency but are going to stop that next season and just give the 'final answer' like the other leagues do.

The 'no lines at all' MLS model works in theory but I believe this is more because of cost. They used to do this in A League but there were instances when the 'wrong' decision was made and broadcasters/clubs/fans added the lines in yesterday and proved VAR had got it wrong so they started to use lines to be more accurate.

At some point, I think there will be an instant calibration of offside decisions (perhaps with some human input to confirm if the player is interfering, etc.) but not sure how long that will take.
This middle paragraph is exactly the problem with people who shortsightedly claim everything would be fixed if they got rid of the lines. I've seen massive controversies go round the internet based off some bloke hand-drawing a line over a screenshot using MS paint - the idea that you'll somehow convince everyone in the world to accept a wrong decision just in the name of speed seems naive at best.
 

RefIADad

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The answer to this issue with offside is simple, but it will never be adopted because those who continue to believe in a theory will always win out.

Make the standard for overturning offside the same as for subjective decisions like penalties and send-offs.

Factual decisions like a foul inside/outside of the penalty area or a ball over the goal line (OK, maybe a bad example given what happened in June) can be binary because we are dealing with a fixed point. Offside has multiple factors, each one of them variable. If the standard would be similar to that of determining if a penalty call is a clear and obvious error, I think we can get the big misses right, admit that some plays are too close to call, and reduce the time of these offside reviews.

Yes, there will be some people who will gripe and complain. Tough luck on that. These are likely the same people who would gripe and complain if the referee said the sky was blue and they are convinced the sky is neon green.

To the point of @GraemeS , I laugh whenever I see pundits or some random dude on Twitter trying to draw the lines. If the general public were smart enough to realize these guys are amateurs at best, they would laugh about this "analysis". Unfortunately, the general public isn't that smart. Recognize that these people are amateurs (and very likely with a bias toward their favorite team, so with an agenda) and get on with it.
 
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bloovee

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The answer to this issue with offside is simple, but it will never be adopted because those who continue to believe in a theory will always win out.

Make the standard for overturning offside the same as for subjective decisions like penalties and send-offs.

Factual decisions like a foul inside/outside of the penalty area or a ball over the goal line (OK, maybe a bad example given what happened in June) can be binary because we are dealing with a fixed point. Offside has multiple factors, each one of them variable. If the standard would be similar to that of determining if a penalty call is a clear and obvious error, I think we can get the big misses right, admit that some plays are too close to call, and reduce the time of these offside reviews.

Yes, there will be some people who will gripe and complain. Tough luck on that. These are likely the same people who would gripe and complain if the referee said the sky was blue and they are convinced the sky is neon green.

To the point of @GraemeS , I laugh whenever I see pundits or some random dude on Twitter trying to draw the lines. If the general public were smart enough to realize these guys are amateurs at best, they would laugh about this "analysis". Unfortunately, the general public isn't that smart. Recognize that these people are amateurs (and very likely with a bias toward their favorite team, so with an agenda) and get on with it.

It might not be a clear and obvious error but whatever happened to benefit of doubt to the attacker? VAR means an AR may raise the flag now where previously he/she would have gone with the instruction "only raise the flag if you are sure the player is offside". What if the AR said "I think he's onside but I want VAR to check"? He's put the flag up despite thinking he shouldn't! What error is VAR then looking for?
 

RefIADad

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It might not be a clear and obvious error but whatever happened to benefit of doubt to the attacker? VAR means an AR may raise the flag now where previously he/she would have gone with the instruction "only raise the flag if you are sure the player is offside". What if the AR said "I think he's onside but I want VAR to check"? He's put the flag up despite thinking he shouldn't! What error is VAR then looking for?

ARs follow the normal decision process as if they had no VAR. They then delay the flag so VAR can review. The only two exceptions are to delay the flag until the scoring opportunity is over, OR (and this is my add) if player safety like a keeper collision is in danger.

If the AR raises the flag, then the call on the field is offside. If the flag stays down, the call is onside. Then go to VAR. If visual evidence (ie no lines) shows a clear and obvious error, reverse the call. If the evidence doesn’t clearly show an error, call stands. The default is the call on the field.
 
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socal lurker

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It might not be a clear and obvious error but whatever happened to benefit of doubt to the attacker? VAR means an AR may raise the flag now where previously he/she would have gone with the instruction "only raise the flag if you are sure the player is offside". What if the AR said "I think he's onside but I want VAR to check"? He's put the flag up despite thinking he shouldn't! What error is VAR then looking for?
You assume a lot there. Why in the world would the AR put the flag up because he wants the VAR to check?!? He wouldn’t. The VAR checks every goal. And the AR is evaluated on getting the call right. If the AR puts up the flag, he’s concluded it’s OS. That’s the instruction—nothing changed. The only difference is that the AR is to delay the flag for a goal scoring opportunity.

Btw, OSP is objective, so it isn’t governed by C&O—if the VAR can determine the OSP part of an OS decision was wrong, the call is reversed. MLS doesn’t have line drawing technology, so the scope of can’t tell for sure is going to be higher. I, for one, think that’s a good thing, as it means we don’t get toenail callbacks from the VAR booth.
 
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