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VAR controversy: Freiburg won't protest against penalty decision vs. Mainz

Freiburg will not protest about the VAR decision to award a penalty to Mainz during half-time of the Bundesliga match between the two on Monday, but said they remain unhappy about the incident.

Pablo de Blasis scored from the spot during the break after referee Guido Winkmann had earlier played on when Daniel Brosinski's shot hit defender Marc Oliver Kempf's hand.

The official was on his way off the pitch when video referee Bibiana Steinhaus told him he should watch a replay of the incident. When he did so on a pitch-side screen he decided Kempf had deliberately handled -- but Freiburg's players had already left the pitch and were called back out.

Freiburg said in a statement that they had decided not to lodge a complaint, but criticised the situation.

"The Bundesliga must not be a field for experimentation, and the use of VAR and its framework not a legal black hole," the statement said. "That players of one team are ordered back from the dressing room after the half-time whistle can't be in the sense of football."

Freiburg, who lost the match 2-0, said the use of VAR in the incident had been "extremely unfortunate" but added that, "after careful consideration," they would not take matters further.

They described the legal framework of the decision as "imprecise, non-transparent and, in parts, unknown" and argued that because VAR has yet to become part of the rules in Germany, "it remained doubtful whether under the given circumstances this could be called a breach of rules which justified a protest."

VAR guidelines say a video assistant referee can intervene after the half-time whistle if the match referee has not left the pitch. From the released footage, it appears unclear whether Winkmann had fully done so.

Lutz-Michael Frohlich, the German FA (DFB) VAR project head, told the official DFB website: "Audio and video footage from the video assistant centre in Cologne establish this."

However, Freiburg's statement claimed: "The footage, rather, spells out that Winkmann only noticed the intervention after he left the pitch."

De Blasis, meanwhile, told the BBC he was not in favour of VAR despite the decision bringing him a goal.

"I don't like it," he said. "I like the old football, with more emotions, without the referee on the video stopping the emotions."

He added that Winkmann "told me that when I shoot [from the penalty spot] the half is finished. I didn't have rebounds. Just one chance for me."

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

 

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