England womens coach Phil Neville

Neville says FIFA have ‘major decisions to make’ about VAR

Phil Neville says FIFA have ‘major decisions to make’ on video assistant referees, following VAR’s controversial use during the Women’s World Cup.

Scotland were controversially eliminated from the tournament after a 3-3 draw with Argentina in the group stage, with Florencia Bonsegundo equalising with a late retaken penalty after goalkeeper Lee Alexander was adjudged to have moved off her line in saving the initial effort, although replays showed it to be an extremely harsh decision.

VAR has continued to cause controversy into the knock-out stages of the tournament, particularly in Norway’s last-16 penalty shoot-out defeat of Australia and Germany’s win over Nigeria.

The Germany-Nigeria clash saw a long stoppage whilst VAR was consulted for what seemed a clear penalty decision for the Germans, whilst Australia saw a penalty decision overturned following a break of several minutes as the referee analysed video replays.

Debate has also arisen over the interpretation of offside, with own goals in games involving the USA and Australia being given, despite the presence of forwards in offside positions.

With VAR set to be introduced in the Premier League from this upcoming season, England manager Neville believes FIFA needs to reassess the system following the tournament, believing they still have ‘decisions’ to make as they bid to make the concept a success.

Embed from Getty Images

“It’s still got to be real, it’s still got to be fair for every player on that pitch and the supporters watching as well,” Neville told BBC Radio 5Live.

“I think Fifa have got major decisions to make after the World Cup and they will probably think they should have maybe done some things a little bit different, that’s the disappointment.

“But it’s probably a conversation for after the World Cup, when we look back at think ‘that worked’ and ‘that didn’t work’.”

Neville did however admit that he remains a fan of VAR despite its use at the World Cup, revealing he has warned his players to stick to the rules.

“I think VAR is a fantastic thing, we have to support the rules and the regulations that we’ve been told to adhere to, and that is all I’ve said to my players,” he added.

“You can like it, you can hate it, but ultimately the rules are the rules and we’ve just got to stick by them.”

See also – Drama, heartbreak, and joy – This year’s Women’s World Cup has everything you want in a football tournament