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Gianfranco Zola backs use of VAR at World Cup

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Italian great Gianfranco Zola says he supports the use of the video assistant referee (VAR) system currently being deployed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, even as it has attracted massive condemnation.

Brazil were the latest team to complain about the system which sees the on-field referee stopping the game to consult with TV cameras on the sidelines to make a decision. The Brazilians were saddened that the VAR was not deployed in their game against Switzerland when the latter equalized on Sunday.

But Zola, who has been in South Africa to work as an analyst for SuperSport, believe the Brazilians had no case.

Gianfranco Zola backs use of VAR at World Cup

“People must understand that the VAR cannot be used for everything,” Zola told Sowetan.

“It’s there to help referees deal better with important decisions like disputed goals and red cards, penalties and so on. It’s a new instrument and it cannot be perfect.”

On Brazil’s protestations, which went sky-high yesterday when that country’s FA wrote FIFA to demand answers as to why the VAR was not deployed when Miranda was pushed by Switzerland’s Steve Zuber on scoring the equalizer in Sunday’s 1-1 draw, Zola said: “I thought Switzerland scored a legitimate goal. You have to realize that when the ball went in, the referee didn’t see the need to consult VAR. And even VAR people didn’t call on the referee to alert him anything was wrong.

Gianfranco Zola backs use of VAR at World Cup

“Frankly, it was not a VAR decision. Miranda was too soft and went to ground easily.”

Reports yesterday showed the Brazil Football Federation insisted “on knowing from FIFA why the technology was not used in major incidents during the match”.

This is the first time VAR is being used in the World Cup and, according to FIFA, should only “correct clear and obvious errors and missed incidents in clearly defined match-changing decisions”.

Brazil also, in fact, believe Gabriel Jesus was manhandled inside the box eighteen and should have been awarded a penalty.

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