Sevilla midfielder Roque Mesa has said the introduction Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology means players “can no longer cheat or trick [the official].”
Mesa was speaking after VAR, which is being implemented in La Liga this season, was called upon for the first time in Spanish football in the ninth minute of Barcelona’s Spanish Super Cup win over Sevilla in Morocco on Sunday.
The technology was used to award Sevilla’s goal, initially ruled out for offside, with the video assistants finding Pablo Sarabia had been onside when he met Luis Muriel’s pass to give his side a surprise early lead.
“In one way, VAR is good but on the other hand, you lose a bit the essence of football,” Mesa said. “You can no longer cheat or trick [the official].”
El Mundo Deportivo’s headline said: “VAR works on its debut in Spanish football,” while El Pais wrote: “VAR gets a pass on its debut.”
Barca coach Ernesto Varverde told El Pais VAR was “good in terms of judging these type of plays,” adding: “The key is for it not to affect the rhythm of the game. But it’s fairer. In the end, it’s normal that technology helps.”
VAR was used in Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A last season, while it was also employed at the World Cup in Russia.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu backed its introduction in Spanish football, saying: “We’ve always been advocates of the use of VAR. We’ve seen it’s been a success. It’s more just for the fans and the players.”