Football

Buffon: VAR makes game ugly

Juventus and Italy goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon has slammed the "misuse" of the video assistant referee (VAR) system, saying that it makes Serie A "ugly".

The system makes use of footage which can be consulted by the referee on the touchlines to rule on key incidents.

It is being used in Serie A for the first time this season, ahead of its World Cup debut in Russia next year.

But, while several VAR decisions have been vindicated over the opening two weekends, mistakes have been made and Buffon is among its biggest critics.

"If you ask me, the VAR is being misused, and out of proportion," Buffon said on Saturday, after helping Juventus launch a 4-2 comeback victory at Genoa.

"We were told it would be used sparingly, in a fair and logical manner. Instead, it's like we're playing water polo. It's making the game ugly."

A World Cup winner, Italy's current caps record-holder (169), and a losing Champions League finalist twice in the past three years, Buffon has direct experience in the VAR.

The 39-year-old stopped a first-half penalty in a 3-0 season-opening win at Cagliari two weekends ago when referee Fabio Maresca used it for the first time in Italy's top flight.

On Saturday, Juventus were already a goal down when they went further behind thanks to a dubious penalty decision.

Referee Luca Banti failed to spot Genoa striker Andrey Galabinov being offside before he was fouled, clearly, by defender Daniele Rugani.

Juve should have been awarded a free-kick, but instead, Galabinov scored from a penalty that should not have been awarded.

Juve eventually clawed their way back via a Paulo Dybala hat-trick and a goal by Juan Cuadrado. - AFP

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