Football Federation Australia has released an extraordinary statement admitting that the VAR system failed during the A-League grand final which saw Melbourne Victory defeat Newcastle Jets 1-0 in Newcastle.
The only goal in the game, scored by Victory's Barbarouses in the ninth minute, caused controversy after replays clearly showed that Victory defender James Donachie was in an offside position before heading the ball back into Barbarouses' path.
FFA has now revealed that the Video Assistant Referee "did not have access to the camera views which would have enabled him to make an offside ruling," despite the fact that it was broadcast on Live TV to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
"Football Federation Australia (FFA) has conducted a review into the goal decision by the VAR during last night’s Grand Final between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory," FFA said in a statement.
"It has found that a technical failure in the VAR system meant that the Video Assistant Referee did not have access to the camera views which would have enabled him to make an offside ruling.
"According to the technology partner Hawkeye, the capture software that uploads the broadcast feed into the VAR system was partially lost 30 seconds before Victory’s goal due to a malfunction of software.
"It was not until some minutes after the goal that this was restored, too late to change the decision on the goal as the game had restarted .
"Under VAR regulations, where there is no clear evidence to the contrary, the on field decision – in this case allowing the goal – stands. The camera feed to broadcaster’s FOX SPORTS, which is routed separately, was not affected.
“We are extremely disappointed at this failure of the VAR technology,” FFA’s Head of A-League, Greg 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 judgements in split seconds.
“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.
“Whilst we understand that this happened only once this season it was at a most critical time. All parties desire the technology to be failure proof and that is what we will be striving for.”
“This is important not just for the Hyundai A-League but for other leagues around the world and for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at which VAR will be used for the first time,” concluded O’Rourke.
After the match Jets coach Ernie Merrick made it clear he didn't agree with the decision that stood.
"It looked to me like there were three players offside," he said.
"I don't want to be a sore loser but if that goal was offside I just wonder what the point of the VAR is."