No personality in Belgian football has been discussed as much as the video. But how do you feel when he is in place during a loaded match? Well, exceptionally, the Judgment Department opened the doors for us. Enter Imke Courtois and Gert Verheyen, who were allowed VAR for one day during KV Oostende – Club Brugge: “It’s really not as easy as it looks on the bench.”
“Foot forward and don’t sneak! But no red, so we won’t interfere.”
It’s the middle of the first half at KV Oostende – Club Brugge when Imke Courtois and Gert Verheyen are fully absorbed in their new roles.
For once, the duo does not form a tandem on the parsing table, but as a video reference.
A unique experience, because it took a while before the referees management approved the idea. Courtois himself was the creator of the series and tested it from the front row in the very first episode.
“As an analyst, you sometimes wonder: How does it take so long?” Courtois says. “You also think you can do it the same way. But is that the case? Hence the idea of getting behind the controls.”
The duo has already chosen an interesting test case.
In the said match, which club will lose 3-0, there are some controversial stages.
The most important: a handball from Brandon Michel on the 16th, where it should also be checked if the Ostend player was not offside.
In the end it takes more than 3 minutes before a decision is made. Courtois and Verhein take a little longer.
You want it to be faster than the VAR, but often that’s not possible.
“The hardest part was choosing the right images,” Courtois recalls. “At a moment like this you feel the clock is ticking fast. On TV, the director is repeated many times, but now we have to choose the best camera angle with the operator.”
The analyst noted another snag: “It’s not the easiest program to work with. You want it to be faster than VAR, but often you can’t. That partly explains why decision-making takes so long.”
After that, Courtois and Verheyen were unanimous: “I don’t want to do this every week,” because “it requires a lot of attention and you don’t get much football.”
However, the experience increased the appreciation of the work of the VAR. “Because it’s really not as easy as it looks in the seat,” Courtois concludes. “That’s why it was very interesting to get a comprehensive picture of how VAR works and to listen to the communication between the referees.”
One more thing: Next Friday, Wesley Sonck and Philip Goss will take over the role of VAR during Cercle Brugge – Racing Genk.
So that goes on.
Watch the first episode on VRT MAX
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