PLAYERS risk retrospective red cards DURING games when video ref technology is introduced in England.
Under the controversial new system, VAR refs will be able to inform match officials at any time of violent conduct spotted by TV coverage.
It means players in Brighton’s FA Cup third-round clash with Crystal Palace face instant, backdated disciplinary action during the tie.
Video Assistant Referees (VAR) can act at any stage of the game, no matter how much time has elapsed between the incident and evidence emerging.
The match at the Amex Stadium on January 8 will be the first official use of the system in English club football.
While VAR is designed to be a back-up for match refs to rule on key decisions, video officials are also on alert for violent conduct that gets missed.
If footage of such clashes emerge from new camera angles, the VAR official will be able to inform the match referee to hand out an immediate punishment.
And it means that a player could commit an unpunished red-card offence, score a crucial goal and then be dismissed for that initial act of violence — but the goal would still stand.
The FA has to follow the International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules on using VAR, even though the idea of retrospective cards in the middle of matches appears ridiculous.
VAR will be available to alert refs to “clear and obvious errors” relating to goals, penalties, red-card offences and mistaken identity.
Decisions for corners, free-kicks and throw-ins are not to be looked at again.
The move will see a giant video screen by the side of the pitch and close to both dugouts for the referee to re-watch events he may have missed.
But to stop managers and coaches trying to put pressure on the refs, the FA are warning such behaviour will lead to them being sent off.
Prem refs have been working with the technology for 18 months in private ahead of the planned launch of the system next season.
Under the new rules, though, the ref MUST make an initial decision — rather than opting to ask for video back-up.
Another referee from the “select panel” will be in the video booth and linked up with the match officials.
Three calls VAR could have changed
JAMES TARKOWSKI v BRIGHTON Burnley defender is set to serve a three-game ban for elbowing Brighton’s Glenn Murray on Saturday. But with VAR in operation he could have been dismissed at whatever point in the game the incident was spotted on video.
DELE ALLI AND HARRY KANE v MANCHESTER CITY Spurs striker Kane got a yellow for his nasty foul on Raheem Sterling while midfielder Dele was cautioned after his studs-up tackle on Kevin De Bruyne.
The VAR official could have told ref Craig Pawson to have another look at the clashes and given him an opportunity to dismiss the England men.
MANUEL LANZINI v STOKE
Argentine’s dive infuriated the Potters. He has been charged with deception and faces a two-game ban. Under VAR, the Hammers man would have been booked and a free-kick given to Stoke
But he is likely to be based at match-day headquarters at Stockley Park, near Heathrow, rather than at the Amex.
If a decision is clearly wrong, the video official can tell the referee and allow him to change the call.
In other circumstances where it is more about interpretation — such as penalty kicks — the referee will be advised that he might like to have a look at the pitchside video screen.
Chiefs at the referees’ body, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, feel VAR provides a “safety net” to help reduce mistakes but they do not want “robo-refs” to take over.
SunSport can reveal both Carabao Cup semi-final first legs will also see VAR being used — if they are all-Premier League affairs.
But the use of VAR remains controversial with Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and his players angry at delays caused by the technology in their Fifa Club World Cup semi-final win over Al Jazira.
Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro were ruled out after video replays, as was one by Al Jazira’s Mbark Boussoufa.
Ex-Spurs star Luka Modric claimed the system “caused a lot of confusion” while Zidane said: “It took four minutes to know the decision and that is not so pleasant.
“The decision should be fast but after four minutes I find it really strange.”
Gareth Bale added: “I don’t like it, to be honest. Football is better without it.”
The VAR system has been used in Germany’s Bundesliga this season but with mixed reactions.
Yet Fifa are determined to bring the system in for next summer’s World Cup finals.
Prem and FA chiefs are also committed to making VAR work across the highest levels of English football next season.
An FA source said: “We want to make sure everything works properly.
“We trialled it at Wembley for the England games last month and there weren’t any issues.
“Stats say it will be needed for one game in three and using VAR in the domestic cups is the first step towards getting it right.”
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