The elimination of Algeria by Cameroon in the play-offs of the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday March 29 at the Tchaker stadium in Blida was a real trauma for Algerian supporters. The controversial decisions of Gambian referee Bakary Gassama have sickened them.
In the aftermath of this defeat which deprived Algeria of a fifth participation in a football world cup, a controversy arose on social networks concerning the realization of the match by Public Television (ENTV) and the use of VAR.
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The public service sports department came out of the silence on Friday evening on the occasion of the program ” Nabd el Kora to provide clarification and at the same time respond to the accusations.
Algerian public television showed the images of the contentious actions, from Cameroon’s first goal which was marred by a foul against Aissa Mandi to the action of Slimani’s goal which was not validated by the referee for because of hand, passing by the penalty refused to Youcef Attal jostled in the Cameroonian surface by the same defender who exerted a load on Aïssa Mandi on the first Cameroonian goal.
The director of the match on behalf of Public Television, Yazid Belkout, affirms from the outset that 12 cameras provided images directly to the VAR.
” I had no intervention “, he defended himself. ” There is an NSM “VAR director” operator who controls the images. He has all the angles provided by the twelve cameras. He can review the actions several times and at the same time. He can zoom in on the images in order to confirm to the referee that there is an error or not “, he explained.
” It is to this same operator that the VAR referees turn to to assess the images from different angles “, abounds the arbitration consultant of National Television, Mohamed Zekrini.
And Yazid Belkout to continue: “ As a director, I cannot redo the replays 5 or 6 times because the match continues and the priority is live. I choose the best angles and replay two or three of them. When I have a little time, I go back a fourth time. But when the game goes on, gotta get back to live “.
A journalist who was on board the ENTV truck gives his testimony on Cameroon’s first goal. From the outset, he wanted to distinguish between TV production and VAR production, which offers several images.
” We replayed the images (of the action of the Cameroonian goal) 5 times, “he said. “The VAR should have stopped on the action. As soon as the goal was scored, referee Gassama was in discussion with the VAR chamber, why hadn’t he gone to check when the charge on Mandi was obvious? Without the VAR, the referee should have called the foul “, adds Mohamed Zekrini, categorical.
“The VAR has not stopped working”
Before getting there, the VAR operator must first refer to the director of the match, in this case Yazid Belkout, underlined an assistant to the director.
A journalist, who was present in the ENTV truck during the match, denies the allegation that the VAR stopped working for 3 minutes, which would have explained that the referee did not use it to ” check” the Cameroonian goal.
He testifies that the Algerian goalkeeper, Rais M’bolhi, remained on the ground between 3 and 4 minutes following the shock he suffered. “ During this time, the contentious action was replayed 5 times. How to say that the VAR stopped for 3 minutes? This is fake news, unfortunately. “, he launched.
Director Yazid Belkout testifies for his part that during half-time, he spoke with Tunisian technicians who were alongside the VAR referees.
” I asked them if the VAR had indeed stopped working or if there had been some technical problem. They told me no, that everything was OK “, he said.
Consultant Mohamed Zekrini confirms that the VAR has not stopped and castigates the attitude of referee Gassama. ” In the event of a VAR stoppage, the referees (of the VAR) must appeal to the central referee and inform him. In this case, the referee of the match stops the game immediately and calls on the captains of the two selections and tells them that the game will be continued without VAR because it is temporarily stopped. “, he explained.
Zekrini complains against the referees of the match and the assessor referee for not having carried out a simulation on the VAR the day before the match, as is the practice.
He cites the case of Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal and his assistants who officiated the Senegal-Egypt match in the 2022 World Cup play-offs. The day before the match, he said, the refereeing trio had two young teams from Senegal play who played a 30-minute simulation match. ” During the game, the refereeing trio noted a VAR failure which they had corrected observed Zekrini.
Algerian Public Television showed in images shot before the match, the many angles of view available to the VAR arbitration. A journalist from the sports section refuted the idea that the match was shot with only 8 cameras.
He put forward the figure of 13 cameras. ENTV, through its sports department, claims to have made all the arrangements for the coverage of the match and refutes the accusations of lack of involvement. ” Gassama did not want us to reach the World Cup “, released Mohamed Zekrini, who remains pessimistic about the outcome of the appeal brought by the FAF to FIFA. The world football body will have to decide on April 21 on this case.