Football video referee calls players back to pitch after halftime

Mainz VAR penalty

REUTERSFreiburg's players finally return to the field

VAR came to the forefront of proceedings in the in Monday evening's clash between Mainz and Freiburg, as the referee awarded a penalty after the half time whistle.

Referee Guido Winkmann, who was also on his way to the tunnel before the VAR intervened, ordered the players to return so that Mainz's Pablo De Blasis could take and score a penalty.

Mainz fans protest the Monday night contest by throwing toilet paper onto the field.

However, as the players headed off, the official consulted VAR after a late incident inside the penalty box.

De Blasis scored a second on 78 minutes to secure victory, taking Mainz above Freiburg on goal difference and eight points clear of automatic relegation, while putting the visitors into the relegation play-off spot in 16th.

Both sets of players had already left the pitch for the interval when the technology flagged up a handball at the end of the first period, reports Guardian football journalist Andy Brassell on social media.

Referee Guido Winkmann, who'd allowed play to continue, then blew for half-time and was on his way off the pitch when notified by video referee Bibiana Steinhaus, who was watching in Cologne, that he should check a replay.

De Blasis added a second with ten minutes remaining, but there is likely to be significant fallout from this match (and that decision in particular) in the coming days.

Potentially one of the most vital goals in the fight at the bottom, but a new low for VAR.

I still think the penalty is debatable.

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