Sydney FC’s Corica backs broadcast of VAR

Updated: 27/03/2023

The A-League's controversial video assistant referee has been mired in more drama after the derby between Sydney FC and Western Sydney.

A little more conversation, a little less action, please. 

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has thrown his weight behind the live broadcast of video assistant referee decisions after another review controversy on Saturday. 

Western Sydney winger Roly Bonavecia appeared to have set up a grandstand finish at the SCG when he fired home midway through the second half at the SCG.

However the goal was overturned when referee Chris Beath ruled that Wanderers attacker Jaushua Sotirio impeded Sky Blues fullback Michael Zullo in the lead-up. 

Wanderers coach Markus Babbel exploded at the decision, flinging his jacket and then kicking an advertising hoarding when shown a red card. 

However Beath later revealed that Sotirio was actually ruled for obstructing Zullo from an offside position. 

“The attacker is clearly in an offside position. His actual impact was on the defender, on Zullo's ability to play the ball,” Beath said after the game.

“It was only picked up by the VAR. From a technical point of view, the offside is the correct decision.”

Babbel later apologised for sideline antics. 

“I have to apologise, my body language wasn't good after this (decision). But I hadn't said a word against the referee,” Babbel said. 

The former German international was adamant Sotirio hadn't fouled Zullo, and was further rankled at suggestions of his attacking player being offside. 

Zullo was attempting to block a Josh Risdon goal when he was stonewalled by a retreating Sotirio, and appeared to make the most of the contact.

Babbel said the ruling wasn't clearly explained to him at the time, but didn't feel as though the incident warranted any extra communication. 

“I could see it on the screen. No one has to explain me this,” he said. 

“I have a different opinion about this. Where (do you) want (him) to go? He is not air, he has to stay, the defender can run around him.”

Competition boss Greg O'Rourke earlier this week revealed the A-League is lobbying for VAR decisions to be explained in stadiums and broadcasts. 

Corica admitted he was also confused by the decision at the time, and agreed that the move would be provide less consternation over contentious decisions. 

“I was a bit confused, I thought it was for the nudge on Zullo. At the end of the day I think it got explained by the referee in the end,” he said. 

“But at the time? Yeah, it'd be nice to know what it was for, but we know now what it was for.” 

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