La Liga set to introduce VAR technology from 2018-19 season onwards

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Spain to join VAR revolution next season Madrid, Oct 26, 2017 (AFP) -The president of the Spanish football federation expects La Liga to follow Serie A and the Bundesliga by introducing video assistant referee (VAR) technology for the 2018-19 season.

“For next season,” Juan Luis Larrea told Spanish radio station Cadena SER when quizzed on when VAR would be introduced.

“That is our intention…technology is now coming into football and you have to accept it.”

The VAR system — which is used to review goals, red cards, penalties and cases of mistaken identity — has been tested across the world in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

However, the results of the tests have not been unanimous. In Italy, for example, VAR has not drawn a line under talking points, but added to the controversy.

“It will become like baseball in the United States, we stay 10 hours at the stadium eating peanuts,” joked Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also slammed VAR as “making the game ugly” for the frequency with which matches are disrupted to review decisions.

Larrea insisted that tests would be run in “over 70 matches” in Spain before the system is formally introduced.

La Liga is the only one of Europe’s top five leagues to not even have goal-line technology, with league president Javier Tebas blaming the cost of introducing the system across the 20 top-flight grounds.

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Two good, two bad as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta star in Barcelona's win over Malaga

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Barcelona dismissed another day of political chaos in Catalonia to continue on their merry way at the top of La Liga by beating Malaga 2-0 at the Camp Nou.

That calm transferred onto the pitch as an 11th win in 12 La Liga and Champions League games this season leaves Barca four points clear of Valencia, and eight ahead of rivals Real Madrid, who host Eibar on Sunday.

Gerard Deulofeu flicked home his first ever goal for the club with aplomb, despite the ball clearly having gone out of play before Lucas Digne crossed into the penalty area.

Barca doubled their advantage in the second period when Lionel Messi teed up Andres Iniesta to fire into the top corner via the aid of a deflection.

Here’s our two good and two bad performances from the Camp Nou.

TWO GOOD

LIONEL MESSI

The Argentine ace has now directly been involved in 500 La Liga goals – 360 goals and 140 assists.

Although he failed to register a goal at the Camp Nou, he provided the assist for Iniesta’s strike early in the second-half.

He made a sublime touch inside the Malaga half and slipped a cleverly weighted ball through to the Barca captain to double the lead.

Lacked the direct service to his feet in dangerous attacking positions but was easily Barcelona’s most active player in the second period.

Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi.

ANDRES INIESTA

The Barcelona captain scored his first La Liga goal since November 2015.

He latched on to Messi’s pass to hammer home a powerful left-footed effort to seal a win for Ernesto Valverde’s side.

Aside from his goalscoring exploits, the 33-year-old had a 85.9% pass completion rate and made 91 touches during a virtuous 90 minutes.

Andres Iniesta.

Andres Iniesta.

TWO BAD

ROBERTO ROSALES

The usually solid Rosales looked out of place during the first-half, giving away a clumsy free-kick for a foul on Iniesta and should have done better to close down Lucas Digne’s cross for the first goal – despite the ensuing ball being out of play.

He could not be faulted for his effort when trying to close down Iniesta for Barca’s second, as the ball deflected off his foot when it looked a definite goal anyway.

Roberto Rosales (l).

Roberto Rosales (l).

ADRIAN GONZALEZ

Should have been taken off in the second-half as he offered little around the middle when his side went in search of a consolation goal.

The Spaniard has been pivotal at times for Boquerones this season but has failed to shine in the big games – with Real Madrid on the horizon next month (November 26).

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Real Madrid president can't imagine La Liga without Barcelona

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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez insists he cannot imagine “Spain without Catalonia nor La Liga without Barcelona” but has admitted concern at the political crisis sweeping Spain amid Catalonia’s drive for independence.

“There are hypotheticals that I do not consider. I am not considering a Spain without Catalonia nor La Liga without Barcelona,” the Real president for nearly 15 years over two spells told online newspaper El Espanol on Wednesday.

“Obviously it worries me like everyone else, but I can offer little assistance.

“I trust the government and the parties that back the constitution that have united to solve the problem in the best possible way.”

Spain has been shrouded in uncertainty since an independence referendum called by pro-separatist parties — and deemed illegal by the Spanish government — on October 1 was marred by a violent crackdown on people trying to vote.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and the Barcelona football Club have backed the region’s right to self-determination, but stopped short of supporting independence.

La Liga president Javier Tebas announced on Tuesday that he has delayed putting future international TV rights out to tender due to the uncertainty.

According to Tebas, the TV rights are likely to lose 20 to 25 percent of their value should Barca leave La Liga.

However, Barca have stressed their desire to remain in the Spanish league.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has also expressed his wish for La Liga not to lose the world-famous Real-Barca rivalry.

El Clasico clashes between the two are routinely the most watched matches around the world, attracting a reported audience of 650 million.

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