Renzo Ulivieri, President of the Italian Coaches Association, is sympathetic to the anger felt by Serie A managers about VAR in the wake of the controversy around Juventus’s late penalty against Inter on Sunday.
Speaking to Rome-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport in an interview published in today’s print edition, the former coach gave his views on some of the problems and inconsistencies of VAR after the talking point in the clash at the San Siro.
There was no doubt that there was contact between Inter wing-back Denzel Dumfries and Juventus left-back Alex Sandro when the Dutchman made a clumsy challenge on the edge of the area towards the end of Sunday’s match at the San Siro.
However, referee Maurizio Mariani appeared to be in perfect position to see the incident, and his initial decision was that there was not enough in it to award a foul and a penalty as he waved play on.
However, the VAR advised Mariani to have another look at the incident, and after looking at the replay on the screen he deemed the challenge to be worthy of a spot kick, from which the Bianconeri equalized.
Inter players were angry with the decision while coach Simone Inzaghi received a red card for his protests, and Ulivieri understands this.
“I say that there must be joint meetings that are held to address specific issues,” he stated. “On Sunday, in a generic sense, however, there cannot be. One must think about refereeing well, the coaches want to make as few mistakes as possible, as Allegri likes to say
“I think for example that a coach also has the right to be angry,” he went on, “knowing however that he does not have the right to express it, especially in an over-the-top way. This is what the rules say. They must be interpreted.”
He stated that “The truth is that there can be protest or anger, raising your arms, shaking your head, as a sign of dissent. And between the two there is a world. I think that anger can also be part of the match.”
“Look, I’m a fan of refereeing,” he further stated. “And I tell you there work is good. Seriously. Because their commitment is to help increase the quality of the match. How? Whistling less, taking the risk of playing at a good pace. If I don’t want to let incidents pass there is a classic and simple way: slow down games, break them up. Coaches have to understand this too.”
He acknowledged the problem of VAR breaking up the game but stated, “But it corrects many errors. And those committed by the VAR represent a very low percentage. Provided we do not fall into the mistake of fragmenting the action, with slow ‘is there a touch or not’ analysis. The video referee must also remain a referee, in the heart of the game and its development.”