Emirati Mohammed Abdullah Hassan historically used the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) referral for the first time at a FIFA youth tournament on Saturday when he belatedly decided to dismiss Argentina’s Lautaro Martinez during a 3-0 U-20 World Cup defeat to England.
Racing Club forward Martinez, 19, was involved in a seemingly-innocuous clash with Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori in the 75th minute. After approximately 60 seconds spent reviewing footage of the incident with a panel of assistants on the side of the pitch at South Korea’s Jeonju World Cup Stadium, a call was then made by the UAE referee to issue a red card for a swinging elbow.
VAR is to be trialled throughout the competition, which had its opening day on Saturday.
The additional officials will help to offer support on four kinds of ‘match-changing’ decisions; goals, penalties, red card incidents and player identity. They will have access to the broadcast feeds inside the video operations room, enabling them to provide the referee on the pitch with information.
A previous high-profile use of the system saw ex-Spain striker David Villa sent off for a punch during February’s pre-season Desert Diamond Cup, while playing for New York City FC.
Saturday’s decision helped England to end a 20-year wait for another U-20 World Cup win. Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Newcastle United striker Adam Armstrong and Chelsea centre forward Dominic Solanke all struck in Group A.
Lionel Messi is free to represent Argentina in their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers after his suspension for allegedly abusing an assistant referee was overturned on appeal.
The 29-year-old Barcelona striker was banned from four international matches and fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£8,100) for supposedly “having directed insulting words” at an official during Argentina’s World Cup qualifying meeting with Chile on March 23.
He was banned for the subsequent 2-0 loss to Bolivia as a result but will return to contention as under-performing Argentina prepare for crucial meetings with Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru as they fight to secure a place at next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.
A statement from the sport’s world governing body FIFA published on Friday read: “The FIFA appeal committee has upheld the appeal lodged by the Argentinian Football Association, on behalf of the player Lionel Messi, against the decision taken by the FIFA disciplinary committee, lifting the sanctions imposed on him as a result.”
During the Chile game, Messi was caught on camera venting his fury at an assistant who signalled he had committed a foul late on in Argentina’s 1-0 win. He was not shown a card at the time.
Despite upholding Argentina’s appeal the FIFA committee stressed it “considered Messi’s behaviour as reproachable” but concluded “the evidence available was not sufficient to establish” an infringement had occurred.
The statement continued: “The Appeal Committee nevertheless underlines the importance of always showing respect to the match officials, stressing that such a principle is essential in football and any unsporting conduct that may be contrary to the principles of fair play cannot be accepted.”
Argentina, currently without a head coach following the April departure of Edgardo Bauza, risk missing out on automatic qualification for 2018 World Cup and to that end the trip to Uruguay in late August will be vital.
If picked, Messi will remain in South America to face Venezuela on September 5.
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION
Messi has 4-match Argentina ban lifted by FIFA.— Freebets.co.uk (@freebetscouk) May 5, 2017
Ronaldo be like... 😡 pic.twitter.com/Pu0E70uklV
BREAKING NEWS: OFFICIAL: FIFA has lifted Messi's 4 match ban. He'll be available to play Argentina's next matches. pic.twitter.com/eJ0ygZTSTQ— Phila (@HumpsPhila) May 5, 2017
Fifa have overturned Lionel Messi's four-match ban - he is free to play international football again 🙏 pic.twitter.com/bA5bEK3OFY— JOE.co.uk (@JOE_co_uk) May 5, 2017
So Messi is back in Argentina and Sampaoli to coach the team.. pic.twitter.com/vb9ceFzWHV— MALiNi (@ReyesDeIMundo) May 5, 2017
Provided by Press Association
For some fans, the international break is an unwelcome, boring pause between the excitement from club football. But for others, it’s a time to be at their ferocious, passionate best.
Copa90 went to Bosnia and Montenegro during the recent international break to take in the two nations’ most recent qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and it’s clear in both countries that the international break is certainly not an unwanted distraction.
Both countries had fans gathering on the streets well in advance of the game to create a raucous atmosphere during the buildup, and the crowds in the stadium were just as fierce.
The local fans in Bosnia, who have dubbed themselves “The Fanaticos”, were in full voice for their team’s 5-0 win over Gibraltar, both before and during the game.
It was a similar story in Montenegro, where the home team, second in its group, had a crucial match against first-placed Poland, and though the visitors took the lead, the cheers that greeted Montenegro’s equaliser were frighteningly loud.
Alas, the home fans’ joy was short-lived, as Poland scored a late winner to take all three points.
But they had done enough to demonstrate that there are plenty of people who get excited about international football