Rabat – FIFA’s video assistant referee (VAR) at the 2018 World Cup is stirring controversy among Moroccan football fans as it was used in several football matches, but not in the Morocco-Portugal game.
Yesterday, Australia scored an equalizer against Denmark on a VAR-awarded penalty in the first half, while on Wednesday, the VAR rejected Iran’s goal against Spain.
FIFA referees, however, at no time used VAR in the game between Morocco and Portugal on Wednesday, June 20, which sparked outrage among Moroccan football fans.
— rwanda_reddevils (@PNyombayire) June 22, 2018
Social media users have also launched a petition, complaining that FIFA did not use VAR for the Morocco-Portugal game.
“We demand FIFA to use VAR for Morocco-Portugal game. Sign the petition.,” wrote a Twitter user.
— Omar Abbadi (@Omarabbadi) June 21, 2018
“We want to repeat the match of #morocco and #portugal because there was an arbitral error. They were two clear penalties for the whole world, but the referee did not see them. He also refused to go back to the video technique ‘VAR.’“
We want to repeat the match of #morocco and #portugal because there was an arbitral error.
They were two clear penalties for the whole world, but the referee did not see them. He also refused to go back to the video technique “VAR”.@fifaworldcup
— Before_and_after_maroc (@and_maroc) June 21, 2018
“Did the #var technique work only for the Europeans teams ?! Portugal didn’t deserve the win, same as Morocco doesn’t deserve the defeat. We demand that the match be returned because the referee is unfair,” wrote another.
— Rach84 (@Rach843) June 20, 2018
In the 26th minute of the game, Moroccan football star and attacking winger Nordin Amrabat shouted for a penalty after Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro pushed him in the penalty zone.
Did the #var technique work only for the Europeans teams ?!
Portugal didn’t deserve the Win, same as Morocco?? doesn’t deserve the defeat. We demand that the match be returned because the referee is unfair#Vive_le_Maroc???? #FIFA18WorldCup
— mery (@Meryem_Boukasba) June 20, 2018
Moroccan captain Mehdi Benatia and head Coach Hervé Renard both criticized the referees and the absence of VAR in the game.
“The difference between them [Portugal] and us [Morocco] is that they have Cristiano. He needs half a chance to score. But I invite you to review the goal. There is a huge fault of Pepe on Boutaïb. I went to see the referee and told him: ‘I know that there are some great players in front, but a little respect for our country!’” said Benatia.
— Hafsa lahrizi Maroc (@ranimfathi6) June 20, 2018
Renard also criticized the referees in the post-match press conference with a broken heart and teary eyes. Renard said: “You have to look at number 3 (Pepe) in slow motion, I think everything is said.” Renard was referring to the hand of the Portuguese central defender, which was not called out by Referee Geiger or his assistants. According to Renard, Pepe’s move deserved a penalty in favor of Morocco in the 85th minute.