Pellegrini suggests limiting use of VAR

MANUEL Pellegrini has some suggestions on the Chinese Football Association's new regulations regarding the use of video assistant referee system in Chinese Super League matches.

MANUEL Pellegrini has some suggestions on the Chinese Football Association’s new regulations regarding the use of video assistant referee (VAR) system in Chinese Super League matches, including limiting its use per match.

Pellegrini’s Hebei China Fortune edged Gregorio Manzano’s Guizhou Hengfeng 3-2 in their second-round CSL match on Sunday thanks to a 94th-minute goal by its Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi.

A total of 9 minutes of injury time was given since chief referee Hei Xiaohu turned to the VAR system thrice during the match to decide whether some goals were valid.

The first time VAR interrupted the proceedings was at the beginning of the second half when Du Wei equalized for Guizhou to make the score 1-1. However, the assistant referee raised the flag, suggesting Du was offside. Hei inquired with the VAR staff before ruling the goal valid, causing a delay of 5 minutes.

Two more debatable goals occurred in the second half, and Hei had to suspend the match two more times, which led to the 9-minute added time. Fans and players from the scoring side had to wait for the referee’s decisions before they could celebrate.

VAR has been applied in CSL matches starting from this season to help the referee in decision making but Pellegrini has some suggestions on its use, according to the Guangzhou-based Soccer News.

“I respect the referee, as some decisions in this match were very difficult for him to judge,” the Chilean said. “This is a new system, which needs time to suit the league. At the current stage, I think it’s the chief referee’s job to make the major decisions.”

According to the paper, Pellegrini suggested that there should be a limit on the number of times VAR can be used in each match (to avoid overusing the system). Also, head coaches of each team should be given at least one chance to apply for using VAR in debatable situations.

Apart from the Hebei-Guizhou match, the VAR also played an important role in another CSL second-round clash between Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guo’an. Beijing’s second goal by Congo striker Cedric Bakambu in the 62nd was first ruled offside, but was later allowed following a VAR review.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini’s “perfect solution” over the CFA’s new U23 player regulation in this match has sparked a debate.

Since Hebei began with three foreign players, it had to send in at least three U23 players as well, according to the regulation.

Pellegrini started with one U23 player. He sent the second one — 20-year-old midfielder Xu Tianyuan in the 80th, but replaced Xu with U23 striker Gao Huaze in the 92nd.

Many believed the substitution was “meaningless” as it went against the CFA’s original intention of giving more playing time to young players.

“Hebei perfectly followed the CFA’s new U23 regulation, but made the rule look awkward,” said Shanghai-based veteran football commentator Ge Aiping.

“All managers want to give chance to capable young players even if they are under 19. But compulsorily sending U23 players who are not good would weaken a team.

“Hebei’s ‘solution’ might force the CFA to revise the regulation,” Ge predicted.

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