The Athletic made a recommendation to the league assembly on Tuesday to allow records of communications from referee teams, including video referees, to be used as evidence in disciplinary proceedings.
«On the basis of our requested opinion, the Arbitration Commission (CA) understands that the proposals presented at the General Assembly do not comply with FIFA and IFAB guidelines. Under this assumption, the matter was brought up for discussion by the members, who, at their own discretion, abide by this judgment and do not approve the proposal of Sporting », the Portuguese league legal director Paulo Rossella told the end of the conference.
BOLA obtained the opinion of the Arbitration Committee, which was distributed to the representatives of professional clubs at the General Assembly. Arguing that “a matter of such magnitude deserves deeper reflection, as it is clearly not enough time to articulate it fully and in detail”, but immediately states that “the proposed rule appears to be illegal and naturally unacceptable under the law, considering Binding guidelines to IFAB and FIFA are not acceptable.
Read the full opinion:
«By email dated June 4, 2022, Your Excellency. This Arbitration Committee is informed that a member of the Portuguese League has submitted a proposal to amend the disciplinary regulations, which proposes a correction to Article 13, al. h) and the introduction of a new Article 15a.
Regarding Article 13, al. h), the proposed amendments are intended to include, within the framework of the fundamental principles of disciplinary proceedings, a guarantee that the accused will have within 24 hours access not only to records produced by the arbitration panel’s communications system, but also to communications between the lead arbitrator and the VAR.
In the new Article 15-A – arguably everything but the content of the disciplinary rules – it is determined that recordings between members of the referee team must be recorded, and it is mentioned that such recordings will be used to evaluate members of the referee team , their training, evidence in disciplinary proceedings and to provide to the requesting club relevant to the competition they participated in.
In other words, if, in Article 13, we are still moving forward in the field of disciplinary proceedings – in which case these recordings are ultimately only available – in Article 15.º-A the possibilities are endless, Because it allows clubs to effortlessly request access to recordings without any reason or justification.
Having made these proposals, Your Excellency. Demands that “this Arbitration Commission, in accordance with the terms of the applicable rules and the terms in force, conduct a competent analysis and evaluation, and notify us of the legality and/or incompatibility of the above-mentioned proposals”, also mentioning that “on June 7, the General Assembly discussed The above proposal, that’s why it is very important that your consideration arrives in the Portuguese league before the 6th of this month.”
First of all, it should be pointed out that such an important issue deserves deeper thought, and the time given for the statement is clearly not long enough to describe it fully and in detail.
In any case, the proposed rules are naturally illegal from a legal point of view, and unacceptable from the binding guidelines of IFAB and FIFA, as we shall see.
Prior to IFAB and FIFA, audio access between the referee team and between the referee team and the VAR was considered unacceptable. IFAB Document No. 18 of 7 April 2020 stated, “It was also agreed that at this point it would be inappropriate to gain a deeper understanding of the decision-making process, such as by visiting the dialogue between match officials during review, but More efforts should be made to strengthen existing communication methods to improve understanding of the review process and the final decision of referees.” Following this notification, FIFA also issued a notice to all referee committees of all associations on 3 September 2020. A notice expressly stating that the transfer of any such recordings is prohibited and any failure to comply with that decision will be understood to be a violation of the VAR agreement.
There has been no change in this position of FIFA and FIFA so far.
Likewise, no other federation allows unconditional access to the recordings of the referee team.
So it is clear that the sporting world regulating the matter was unequivocal in determining that these recordings were not possible and that approving the kind of norm proposed would mean a breach of the VAR protocol, with consequences.
On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that there is a difference between an order issued by an entity with jurisdiction to attach a specific record (if it exists, of course) and the possibility of requesting access for no reason or reason. Same.
It should also be noted that Article 15-A sets out matters strictly reserved to the purview of the Arbitration Commission. In fact, Article 45, paragraph 1, of the legal system of sports federations stipulates that “the arbitration committee, without prejudice to the other powers conferred by the statutes, shall coordinate and administer arbitration activities, determine the training parameters of athletes. Referees and conduct technical classifications. ”, so such rules proposed by sporting associations are unlawful in regulating issues related to the assessment and training of referees.
On the other hand, this Article 15-A serves only and only as a gateway to all recordings that exist, whether between the VAR and the refereeing team, or between members of the refereeing team, without any basis, not even disciplinary action ongoing proceedings. Without this causal link to any disciplinary process, the article is also unacceptable, as the league assembly has no authority to approve it within the disciplinary regulations.
In fact, there are well-founded doubts as to whether such access is compatible with personal data protection regimes.
Given the obvious illegality and unacceptability of the proposed amendment, other considerations remain in the background, but cannot but be mentioned, involving incomprehensible 24-hour access records whose implementation and maintenance costs do not even assume that these records should be kept time.
As we have said, these considerations are secondary and only show the complete lack of logic and foundation in what is being proposed.
In light of the above, we believe that these proposals must be rejected immediately, otherwise there will be penalties for illegality and breach of the VAR protocol, with consequences. “