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21 Jan 2018 5:50
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    FFA to cull VAR personnel after more drama

    The FFA will reduce the number of video assistants as Mariners coach Paul Okon has pledged to appeal red cards handed to two of his players via the technology.

    Football Federation Australia is set to cull the number of A-League video assistant referees to a more exclusive group it believes has the right skill-set to operate the much-talked about technology.

    A day after the VAR courted controversy yet again, FFA's A-League boss Greg O'Rourke also pledged to steer clear of 50-50 calls like the one that had Central Coast coach Paul Okon so incensed he declared the on-trial system was turning fans off football.

    But though it "needs to be much better", according to O'Rourke, FFA is determined not to walk away from FIFA's trial and will instead seek international advice on how best to implement it.

    Both Okon and the Mariners' home crowd exploded in Saturday night's 2-0 loss to Western Sydney, when two second-half yellow cards to Wout Brama and Jake McGing were upgraded to reds following VAR reviews.

    The McGing incident in particular was a mystery, his largely innocuous challenge on Kearyn Baccus met with a caution from referee Alex King, who then inexplicably changed it to a red card after intervention from VAR Shaun Evans.

    The technology was also accused of inconsistency in Sydney FC's 3-1 win over Melbourne City on Friday night.

    Following the widespread backlash, O'Rourke confirmed changes were afoot in time for the next round.

    That included reviewing and making smaller the circle of referees who currently sit in the 'Cave'.

    "Those who have proven they can transition from on the field to off the field," O'Rourke told AAP.

    "Because we realise it is not the same skill-set, and not everyone has been able to adapt.

    "We're also going to stay away from contentious calls and reinforce the high threshold for us getting involved."

    O'Rourke has contacted officials covering Sunday night's Suncorp Stadium clash between Brisbane and Melbourne Victory to remind them the VAR is in place only to identity "clear and obvious errors", not to re-referee games.

    Director of referees Ben Wilson will also reach out to his MLS counterpart Howard Webb, along with other international leagues, to seek further improvements.

    FFA has already been forced into taking steps to reduce lengthy review waiting times of up to four minutes.

    While O'Rourke felt Brama's from-behind tackle on Roly Bonevacia was clear grounds for dismissal, he said FFA would review McGing's red card.

    If not overturned, Okon said the Mariners would appeal in a bid to get their players cleared for the Boxing Day trip to Adelaide.

    "If you came to this game tonight and you left here no longer in love with football, who could blame you?" Okon said.

    "I think it's probably what everyone is talking about and that's not the reason why people are turning up watching - it's not why we turn up to play and coach."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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