VAR comes under fire in Melbourne Victory’s late win over Central Coast Mariners in A-League Men

Central Coast rookie Jason Cummings has lamented the A-League Men’s commercial breaks and lengthy VAR delays that made the Mariners’ 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory a ‘stop-start’ affair.

The A-Leagues have added drink breaks during halftime this season, with the breaks allowing new Network Ten broadcasters to take commercial breaks – although on Saturday night there were also commercial breaks during play.

Victory’s win over the Mariners also had lengthy VAR reviews to add to the overall delay.

A VAR review of a seemingly obvious offside call on Jake Brimmer in the 26th minute lasted four minutes before the original decision was upheld.

“It was a pretty stale game. I’ve never been to a game where he stayed that long,” Scotland striker Cummings told Ten afterwards.

“Like, really. VAR takes about 10 minutes to stop with that. It’s [the referee] stop the game for a commercial break.

“For example, I need to warm up every 10 minutes. It’s stop-start.”

Mariners coach Nick Montgomery said he “didn’t really notice” the drink breaks, but Saturday’s delays were more evident.

“Obviously we’ve had some really hot days the last two months and I think drinks breaks were needed there,” he said.

“Because the boys are coming back from COVID who have been sick and really for the health and safety of the players.

“Tonight was probably the first time I really noticed it. There seemed to be a lot of delays and a few VAR checks when I didn’t know why they needed to check it – it clearly wasn’t a foul or a penalty.

“It was a bit stop-start and you lose that bit of momentum in the game.”


Victory counterpart Tony Popovic made it clear he was not a fan of drink breaks and wanted shorter VAR reviews.

“The long VAR review, I wish they were a lot quicker because I think they took a bit too long in all games,” Popovic said.

“The drinks break, whether it’s for TV or not, I think we’d all like the game to keep flowing, but we were made aware of it before the season.

“I don’t like it, but we have to accept it and it can work in your favor sometimes, and sometimes against you.

“But whether it’s for you or against, I would certainly like the game to continue. Let the game continue.”

Melbourne Victory ended their three-game ALM winless streak with a 94th-minute goal from winger Nishan Velupillay to lift the FFA Cup champions to sixth in the table.


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