MXN$260 million to enable VAR in Mexico Soccer League

Though the Video Assistant Referee will be available to a limited number of games, soccer teams shall not longer blame current referees for losing a championship
Arturo Brizio Carter, head of Mexico’s soccer Referee Committee - Photo:Imago7 Sports Photo Agency
17/01/2018
15:43
Mexico City
“Merits of the case” is an Opinion Sports Editorial by Gerardo Velázquez de León
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Too many claims against referees seem to justify any lost soccer match in the eyes of football managers lacking self-criticism. The time has come for Arturo Brizio, head of Mexico Referee Committee, to confirm that there will be a Video Assistant Referee system (VAR) as from the knockout competition known in Mexico as the Liguilla.

Though the VAR will be available to a limited number of games, football teams shall not longer blame current referees for losing a championship. The system is already in use in first world football leagues such as the Bundesliga, Eredivisie, Serie A, Liga NOS, and Ligue 1, only to prove that it is still perfectible given the blunders experienced so far.
As for Mexico, we are only told of its upcoming arrival, yet, who will fund such system? Will the Mexico Football League, the Referee Committee, or football teams who strive to have they payroll maintained, pay for VAR technology?

In order to have the VAR installed in any stadium, one needs a one-way system, that is having video cameras, strategically placed both in the field and in the seats, which are plugged into a van carrying a monitoring system of each of the cameras that allow for revision of plays.

Such system cannot rely solely on the tv broadcast as it may lead to the producer's mishandling of the images reviewed, hence the need for full autonomy in the system’s management. The game’s images will have to be the result of a superb TV broadcasters signal, namely Televisa, Azteca, Imagen or Fox Sports, in addition to the images produced by the cameras strategically installed for VAR purposes along the stadiums.

TV producers would have to pay a lease of around MXN$350,000 per game, plus payroll of referees in charge of reviewing the plays. The cost for Mexico’s Liguilla would amount to MXN$900,000, alone.

Should the system be used for the whole of the Mexico League, the investment would add up to approximately MXN$58, 450,000 -including both regular season and Liguilla games.
Mexico Cup would require a MXN$24,154,000 investment, while the Mexico Promotion League would amount to MXN$47,600,000.

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We are talking about MXN$130 million per tournament to total MXN$260 million per football year, outrageous figures, indeed, in addition to VAR investments in the Mexico League, Mexico Cup and Mexico Promotion League as it would be unfair and discriminatory to have it installed at First Division only, considering what it’s at stake in promotion competitions and how the Mexico Cup offers a balm to mediocre league performances for some teams. Yet, we have not even considered the VAR needs of the Mexico Women’s Soccer League in this overview.

It is technically simple to have quality images from tv broadcasters during the Mexico League, however, the broadcasting rights of the Mexico Cup and the Mexico Promotion League are held by low budget tv broadcasting companies that may lack the technical resources necessary to produce a live broadcast in compliance with set quality standards.

All in all, the idea of the VAR in Mexico football is nice and well, and even fair for football teams; the crux of the matter is: Who on earth will pay for it?

Twitter: @gvlo2008
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English version by Berenice González
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