Ref, VAR discussions to be made public in Spain

Conversations between Spain’s referees and Video Assistant Referees [VAR] will be made public under a new agreement between LaLiga and the Spanish football federation [RFEF], the two bodies announced in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Discussions which take place between officials when an incident has been reviewed using the pitchside monitor will be made available to broadcasters after the end of each day.

– Stream LIVE: Barcelona vs. Almeria, Wednesday 12/20, 12:50 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The new project will make its debut in the Spanish Supercopa — organised by the RFEF — in Saudi Arabia next month, with Real Madrid due to face Atletico Madrid in the first semifinal on Jan. 10, and Barcelona playing Osasuna on Jan. 11, before the final on Jan. 14.

It will then be implemented in LaLiga, beginning with matchday 20 in the top flight and matchday 22 in the second tier, with games being played from Friday Jan. 12.

“This initiative marks a new era of collaboration and collective work between the RFEF and [refereeing body] CTA and LaLiga, with the aim of bringing greater transparency to professional football refereeing, and the competitions themselves,” the RFEF and LaLiga statement said.

“In this sense, with the broadcasting of the images and audio once each day of competition is completed [Saturday, Sunday and Monday] the fans’ experience will improve and a greater understanding of refereeing decisions will be enabled on behalf of television viewers, thus improving the competitions as a whole.

“In the next few days, the RFEF and LaLiga will publish more information and educational materials on social media to help fans and the media understand how this new dynamic will work.”

The relationship between the RFEF and LaLiga has improved dramatically in recent months — after years of feuding over numerous aspects of Spanish football governance — since the departure of Luis Rubiales as RFEF president.

One of Rubiales’ former vice presidents, Pedro Rocha, is currently in interim charge of the federation, ahead of elections next year.

Referees and VAR in Spain have faced frequent criticism over decisions — and an alleged lack of transparency — from clubs, fans and sections of the media this season.

The image of the profession has also suffered during the ongoing criminal investigation into payments made by Barcelona to companies linked to the former vice president of Spain’s refereeing committee, José Maria Enriquez Negreira.

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