SOCHI, Russia (AP) — FIFA’s new video review system is bringing turmoil to the Confederations Cup, with technology designed to deliver quick, clear decisions agitating players and leaving coaches and fans confused.
Perhaps even worse for FIFA, the latest controversy on Sunday — exactly one week after four goal reviews in that day’s two matches — made one of the world’s highest-rated referees look hesitant and wrong.
Wilmar Roldan sent off a Cameroon defender more than three minutes after a high tackle on a German opponent and only after his own case of mistaken identity.
The Colombian official arrived at what was arguably the correct decision following two visits to the touchline to consult video replays and first showing only a yellow card, then a red card, to the wrong Cameroon player.
“I think everyone is confused, including me,” Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said of referee Roldan after a 3-1 loss in Sochi that eliminated his team. “He and he alone can explain what happened there in that moment.”
Cameroon was also involved in two video decisions last Sunday, when possible Chile goals were reviewed for offside rulings. The first goal was disallowed, the second counted in Chile’s 2-0 victory.
Portugal had most to complain about one week ago when a potential opening goal in a 2-2 draw with Mexico was ruled out by an offside judged in an earlier phase of play.
FIFA stressed last week that all decisions proved ultimately correct, and the controversies were simply inevitable overreactions as world football gets used to a new system being put to its highest-profile tests.
Indeed, FIFA President Gianni Infantino felt confident to proclaim video review was “the future of football” and still on track to be approved by the guardians of the game’s laws before the 2018 World Cup.
Human error by Roldan seemed the biggest problem Sunday though it added to the perception that video review is capable of causing as much controversy as it solves.
FIFA has certainly pulled back from its prediction last year that game-changing decisions — goals scored, penalty kicks awarded, red cards, mistaken identity — could be reviewed and resolved in as few as six seconds.
Accuracy is more important than speed, has become the mantra in Russia.
Neither were in evidence Sunday in Sochi as Cameroon defender Ernest Mabouka eventually left the field around three minutes after his boot connected with Emre Can of Germany.
Mabouka’s teammate Sebastien Siani had sarcastically applauded the referee when he was wrongly sent from the field. Eventually Siani’s slate was wiped clean and he completed the match.
Still, the image of a top referee being openly disrespected will not please FIFA.
Roldan arrived at the Confederations Cup trying to rebuild a reputation that was damaged at the 2014 World Cup. There, he was chosen for the second game of the tournament, and incorrectly ruled out two Mexico goals. FIFA did not pick him for another refereeing duty in Brazil.
To further damage Roldan’s standing, Germany coach Joachim Loew said neither he nor Can believed the tackle merited even a yellow card.
“I didn’t have the impression that it was a mean foul with the intent to hurt the opponent. It was not intentional,” Loew said through a translator at the post-match news conference.
Loew, whose Germany team will defend its World Cup title next year, still thinks video review can benefit the game — with one condition.
“I think it can be fine-tuned over time so that decisions can be made more quickly,” the German coach said. “That would be great.”
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The president of the United Arab Emirates has made a rare public appearance on state media to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan suffered a stroke on Jan. 24, 2014, and underwent emergency surgery. He has rarely been seen in public since, fueling speculation about the state of his health.
The state-run WAM news agency released a video Sunday showing Sheikh Khalifa seated in an ornate room at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Palace alongside ruling family members gathered to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
On his left was Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the federation’s vice president and prime minister.
The video carried no sound but showed the president speaking at one point.
BEIJING (AP) — Three popular Chinese internet services have been ordered to stop streaming video after censors complained it contained improper comments on sensitive issues. The move prompted a sell-off in the U.S.-traded shares of Sina Corp. and its microblog service, Sina Weibo.
Thursday’s announcement adds to efforts by President Xi Jinping’s government to tighten media control ahead of a Communist Party congress late this year. Xi is due to be appointed to a second five-year term as party leader.
Video streamed by users of Sina Weibo, AcFun and Phoenix New Media’s ifeng.com contained “negative comments” about unspecified sensitive issues, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio Film and Television said. It ordered them to stop the services.
Communist leaders promote internet use for business and education but try to block access to material deemed subversive or obscene.
Beijing has been especially wary of social media since they were used by organizers of the Arab Spring protests that spread across the Middle East in 2010 and led to the downfall of the Egyptian and Tunisian governments.
Rules that took effect June 1 bar private or foreign companies from directly disseminating news or investing in online news services. Those that want to work with foreign partners must undergo a security review.
In January, the government announced the launch of a 14-month crackdown on cloud-hosting and content-delivery services. The technology ministry said it forbids use of virtual private networks and leased lines to circumvent government filters and access banned websites abroad.
Following Thursday’s order, Weibo Corp. shares fell 6.1 percent on the Nasdaq market and shares of Sina fell 4.8 percent.
“The company is communicating with the relevant government authorities to understand the scope of the notice. It intends to fully cooperate with the relevant authorities,” said a Weibo Corp. statement.
Sina Weibo’s main business is a microblog service similar to U.S.-based Twitter Inc. It is one of the world’s most popular social media services, with 313 million users as of December, according to the company.
Weibo Corp.’s stock market value surged past that of Twitter early this year. It stood at $15.8 billion after Thursday’s selloff — or more than double the $6.2 billion market value of its parent company — compared with $13.2 billion for Twitter.
ifeng.com broadcasts brief news and entertainment videos. AcFun is a video-sharing site that is popular with young Chinese.
In a statement on its Weibo account, AcFun promised to carry out a “comprehensive rectification” of its website management to create a “clear and bright online environment.”
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