Tue. Jan 26th, 2021

VAR saves careers: Gavin Hunt calls for PSL to use technology

bidvest wits vs orlando piratesGavin Hunt says that the PSL and SAFA need to start using technology to improve the standard of refereeing in South Africa.

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Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has called on SAFA to implement the use of the array of Video Assistant tools currently being used in Europe and on the international stage.

Hunt’s Wits were the victims of a referee error during their 1-1 draw against Supersport United in April. Referee Phelelani Ndaba, disallowed a goal that replays showed clearly should have stood. That goal might have kept Wits in the title race and would have secured their place in continental competition.

The coach said the problem of refereeing mistakes was not isolated to the PSL or Africa, but insisted that VAR had to be brought in as soon as possible.

“I think it’s all over the world (referees making mistakes). The game is so fast now‚ so it’s very difficult to make decisions‚” said Hunt.

“That’s why you need this VAR and that type of stuff… it helps you. It would have helped us last week (against SuperSport).”

Hunt said that VAR was essential given the pace of the modern game and the high stakes involved. He said he was aware that VAR would sometimes work against his team but the right decision would be made.

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Gavin Hunt, Coach of Bidvest Wits ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

“I’m a big fan of VAR. I think it saves careers‚ it saves jobs and it gets the right decision.

“So‚ either way it is going to help‚” said the Wits coach.

“I think all the games are moving (towards the review systems)… cricket‚ rugby …..Soccer has been the last one to move forward with that type of thing.

“We need it. I think the game is so fast and so quick now that you need decisions to be made correctly.

“And sometimes it’s going to go against you because you’ll score and you think you’ve scored a legitimate goal but there was an offside.

“And sometimes it’s going to go for you‚ like last week.”

Hunt said that he felt that referees needed to be more engaged with football and the players, and understand where the game is going.

“My biggest thing with referees….. I think they need a better rapport with players‚ they need a better rapport with how the game is managed‚” he said.

“That’s what I’ve always said.

“There are a lot of ex-players who complain that they got no jobs‚ they’ve got no life‚ why don’t they become the referees.

“I mean there’s a career there.”

Hunt hopes that his Wits team will soon experience some good fortune after having their season impacted by refereeing errors.

“We’ve felt the brunt of it (bad refereeing) this year for sure‚” Hunt said.

“I mean some of the free kicks turned to goals when they shouldn’t have been. That’s disappointing but hopefully it evens itself out.”

Wits cannot win the title on the final day of the PSL season but a victory over Golden Arrows in Durban would confirm their presence in CAF competition next season, and could even see them leapfrog Pirates into second.

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