History has been recorded in the books. On Sunday (11) afternoon, 40.000 spectators attending Beira-Rio Stadium as well as thousands of others fans watching the 413th edition of the Gre-Nal rivalry witnessed the first derby to use Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Brazilian football. The test using the technology was deemed a success by its operators.
On the field, Jean Pierre Lima, followed by his replacement Jonathan Pinheiro, as well as assistants Rafael da Silva Alves and Lúcio Flor, communicated with the booth, which was occupied by Rafael Traci, performing as Video Referee, and Ivan Carlos Bohn, fulfilling the role of Video Assistant Referee, in addition to supervisor Manoel Serapião. All of them agree that, as soon as the match kicked-off, athletes put into practice everything they were taught at their clubs and helped make it a smooth showdown.
“Everything was highly satisfactory. We can still make some adjustments, though. In the future, cameras may have to be adjusted specifically for the Video Assistant, and not for transmission’s sake. Nevertheless, we were pleased with what happened today and took advantage of it. For instance, in the play where the penalty kick was awarded, we saw the play through cameras 1 and 7, through the inverted camera and through camera 5, with the purpose of being positive that the foul really took place inside the penalty area. Therefore, I find that everything went as planned and protocol was complied with as it should”, Serapião stated.
Even though no decisions were changed on the pitch, Rafael Traci reviewed plays and spoke with referees participating in the Internacional vs. Grêmio clash. He believes communication with his colleagues on the pitch was flawless.
“We hope the AAV is not required, however, we are ready to intervene whenever it is needed. We undertook thorough training sessions and were able to successfully apply everything we learned during the qualification program in this official match. Derbies are always more challenging, and we know they can result in a greater number of review situations, so we spoke to the field crew a couple of times and everything proceeded according to planned”, Traci added.
Like Rafael Traci, Ivan Bohn also concluded CBF’s VAR qualification program on September of last year in the city of Águas de Lindóia in the State of São Paulo. Bohn believes that the lessons learned enabled Traci and him to arrive at the Gre-Nal match fully confident.
“Last year we concluded a high-level training program, but it’s still a novelty for us. We arrived at the match focused and aware of the challenges, since it’s a derby and also one of the greatest rivalries in Brazil, but thanks to the training program we undertook last year, we came in confidently to participate in the match today. We experienced some difficulties in the first minutes of play with the operator, however, as the match proceeded we became increasingly relaxed and quite confident”, Bohn concluded.