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Mayo controversy: The LGFA does have video assistants. Here is how they work

Video assistant referees are all the rage in sport these days. They enrage fans in the ground, f...



Mayo controversy: The LGFA doe...
Football

Mayo controversy: The LGFA does have video assistants. Here is how they work

Video assistant referees are all the rage in sport these days.

They enrage fans in the ground, fans watching on TV and, perhaps above all else, the managers and players too.

There is something paradoxical about how a tool introduced to make things clear-cut and fairer manages to mine such anger. And, it may be hard to comprehend for the non-sports fan how a manager could get so angry over the idea that VAR may have been used against his team to make an apparently correct call.

But, that was the case when Mayo lost by a solitary point in the All-Ireland Ladies semi-final against Galway on Sunday.

Speaking to Off The Ball after the game, Mayo manager Peter Leahy fumed that his side were deprived of a late free-kick that he thought appeared to have been awarded, only for the final decision to actually be a free out. Had the call been a free in Leahy's side would have had a near-unmissable opportunity to level the score and bring the game to extra-time

The decision, Leahy claims, was made using the help of an official in the television booth.

"It was done from upstairs in the television booth," Leahy told Off The Ball.

"They were told through their ear that it was two hops. I didn't realise the LGFA had gone to VAR. It's annoying, they'll deny that but that is what happened."

"The umpire didn't give it. It came from upstairs from the television," Leahy added.

"All I know is our girls are devastated in there and they should be playing another ten minutes aside and see how things go."

While Leahy did not explain to Off The Ball why he thought this was the case he later told RTÉ Sport that an official had told him that the decision had been made with the help of video.

In response to Leahy's comments, an LGFA spokesperson told Off The Ball on Sunday that the decision was "correct" and made by the referee on the pitch without the help of anyone watching on television.

It was at first unclear whether the game actually had a video assistant in attendance, but on Monday the LGFA confirmed that there was a "score assistant" in the television booth during the match but that they were not used at all.

According to the LGFA Referee Handbook seen by Off The Ball, the role of the "score assistant" is to "assist with scores only – no other decisions".

"The score assistant can review both goals and points from their position in the production truck."

"Nothing has changed in relation to refereeing, this is just an extra eye to have to assist if unsure on SCORES ONLY [sic]," the handbook explains.

The handbook also notes that the score assistant can communicate directly with the referee during the game by pressing a button in the production truck.


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Galway LGFA Lgfa Mayo LGFA Peter Leahy VAR