VAR decision misses off-side call
VAR decision misses off-side call

Humiliated: A-League admits to grand final fail

LAST night's explosive A-League grand final descended into chaos as a "disgraceful" kick from Newcastle Jets star Roy O'Donovan floored opposition goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.

But surprisingly, it wasn't the most shocking error seen on the field at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

Newcastle fans, who flocked in the thousands to see their team play in the first regionally-hosted grand final, were slapped with a wet fish after a technical failure allowed Melbourne the only goal of the match.

Victory star Kosta Barbarouses slotted in a goal after a free kick soared over the heads of Newcastle defenders. Fans were quick to point out the referee's obvious blunder in failing to bring up James Donachie - who passed the ball back to Barbarouses before he scored the goal - as off-side.

Barely 12 hours after Melbourne raised the cup, the competition was out apologising to Newcastle fans for the monumental slip-up.

Football Federation of Australia's Head of A-League Greg O'Rourke said a failure by technology used by the VAR (video assistant referee) meant they were unable to make a call on the goal.

"We are extremely disappointed at this failure of the VAR technology," O'Rourke said, "And we understand the disappointment and frustration of the Newcastle Jets, their fans and indeed all football fans.

"VAR was introduced here and in other parts of the world as a technology based solution to correct the human errors that inevitably are made from time to time when officials are making judgments in split seconds."

O'Rourke admitted the cameras available weren't able to pick up the angle required to deem the call off-side.

"On this occasion the technology itself failed and the broadcast angles required were unavailable. We are working with Hawkeye to thoroughly understand why it did and what can be done to prevent this happening again."

Australian media personality Waleed Aly said the VAR had been a "disaster" in the A-League all season.

"I am an opponent of technological intervention in sport," Aly said on ABC's Offsiders. "I think it sells a false hope of perfection it can never attain. It doesn't ever remove human error and when it is used well it usually causes intolerable delays in the game, so the end product you're chasing ends up being a mirage.

"I just don't think it's very good. I can't stand the whole intervention - I think it's been a bit of a disaster."

Understandably, fans were livid at the outcome which marred the close of the A-League's 13th season.


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