German video review stumbles on debut

Berlin (AFP) – The new German video review ran into trouble on its first serious test but despite the embarrasment officials insist it did not decide the Bayern Munich win over Borussia Dortmund in Saturday’s Super Cup.

The German Football Association (DFB) and German Football League (DFL) said in a joint statement that the still experimental video assistant referee system had malfunctioned during Saturday’s match at Borussia Dortmund, stoking a debate about the new technology.

Bayern Munich won the game 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out after regulation time ended 2-2.

The play in question came when Christian Pulisic’s early goal for Dortmund was cancelled out by Robert Lewandowski on 18 minutes.

A referee was trying to determine if Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich was offside when he made the assist.

“The calibrated lines that the video assistant normally has to support offside decisions were not available in the first half due to technical problems,” they said, meaning the referee had to make the call without VAR,” the statement revealed.

DFB and DFL cited officials as saying that, based on a subsequent review of televised images, the decision had been correct and would have been the same with VAR. 

VAR was used for the first time in a senior international tournament during June’s Confederations Cup in Russia.

The system worked to varying degrees of success, with many incorrect decisions rectified, but many critics accused it of taking too long and being confusing for supporters.

Australia’s A-League announced in April that it would become the first top-level domestic league to implement the system, while Germany and Portugal are slated to test it this season.

“We have always said that in the beginning of the VAR project, small problems could arise,” DFB’s chief referee instructor Hellmut Krug was quoted in the statement as saying.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure, and are optimistic, that all the problems will be resolved by the start of the Bundesliga season on August 18.”

Bayern begin their title defence with a home game against Bayer Leverkusen.

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