MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 23:21:40

Gary Neville unsure of VAR official capabilities at World Cup

Neville unsure of VAR capabilities
© Reuters
Former England international Gary Neville is concerned that VAR officials at the World Cup do not have the technical skill to make the right decisions quickly.

Gary Neville has admitted that he is unsure whether VAR officials at the World Cup have the technical skill to make the right decisions quickly.

The former England defender was speaking after Argentina's 1-1 draw with Iceland, during which Cristian Pavon went down under a challenge from Birkir Saevarsson on 77 minutes.

Replays indicated that the Iceland defender had committed a foul, but referee Szymon Marciniak was not convinced and play was restarted before the VAR team in Moscow could intervene.

"To me, there is a capability issue here over what we're asking the referees in that VAR truck to do," Neville told ITV Sport.

"There are 40 camera angles and you might say there are only 10 camera angles you need to look at, but you're asking the VAR official, with two mates alongside him, to make a decision in 10 or 15 seconds. He's got one television screen split into nine or 10 multiple screens like a Rubik's Cube. He has got pressure on him to try and pick the right angle and look at them quickly.

"Co-commentators get it wrong sometimes, commentators get it wrong and analysts get it wrong. They are being asked to make decisions in real, quick speed. There is a capability issue here about whether they can actually do it in such a quick time and get the right angles and views. That's my worry.

"I don't know what's going on in those trucks, but that's the thing they need to be transparent about and show us. I'm not sure they will be able to select the angles quickly enough to get the decision back to the referee before the game has been restarted."

The 2018 World Cup in Russia marks the first use of VAR at the tournament.


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