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Ricardo Cadena fined for comments on... flawed Liga MX VAR system? He happens to be right

The Chivas head coach had some truth on the match officiating in his post-game press conference which cost him a fine; it’s ok, it was worth it.

America v Chivas - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images

After dropping their second consecutive match on Saturday night to América by a final of 2-1 in the Super Clásico, Chivas head coach Ricardo Cadena had some words in his postgame presser after the officiating and VAR couldn’t solve a goal-line decision efficiently or correctly, which ultimately cost Chivas at least a point. He refers to the play that occurred in the 54th minute with America leading 2-0. Chivas crossed the ball in from a corner kick where “Morsa” Flores connected on a backward header straight on goal, ensuing in a great Memo Ochoa save. However, upon further review, the ball seemed to have possibly crossed the line, but there’s no definitive shot that confirms it.

Cadena had this to say: “In regards to officiating, again, you judge the acts. There’s a very clear image on social media, and you’re the ones who have to judge. As I said, I don’t speak about officiating, but in present day, it’s terrible. I hadn’t seen it (the play) until now, and I don’t understand why they didn’t stop to review it.” Now, to be clear, it’s not that the play wasn’t reviewed. Cadena is complaining over the fact central ref Adonai Escobedo didn’t go look at the play himself, only relying on the booth review to tell him whether or not he should look at it. It was announced yesterday by the FMF that Cadena was receiving an economic fine for his comments, but the thing is, he’s both right and wrong, and I’ll explain why.

Now, I’m no VAR official or expert for that matter, but it seems to me with a simple and clear view that this ball crossed the line. Despite this, the camera is clearly tilted and has a bit of an angle on it in relation to the goal-line, making it impossible to have conclusive evidence the ball indeed crossed the line. However, from the other side, it looks as if it didn’t cross, but the camera still has a tilt and it’s impossible to tell for sure, even though it does appear to never cross. Why there isn’t a clear shot of the ball with the goal-line is beyond me.

This has stirred conversations regarding the use of Hawk-Eye (goal-line) technology that’s currently used in Premier League, Bundesliga, and other top leagues. To be fair to clubs, the investment cost is exorbitant, being said to cost each club between $250k to $500k USD according to multiple sources back in 2013 when Premier League first introduced it. I wonder what the cost is now. But as long as it’s not employed, these calls will continue to be blown on a more regular basis.

Back to the point about Cadena being both right and wrong. How is he right? With the point that Escobedo should’ve been summoned to look at the play himself. It’s just too close a call for the decision to be made for him in the booth. How is he wrong? It wouldn’t have made a difference in the decision. There needs to be conclusive evidence to overturn a call. If not, the original call stands. Heck, it’s possible the ball in didn’t cross the line, but since the call on the field was no goal, there wasn’t enough to change it. So, in the end, it made no difference.

With all of this being said, I completely agree with Cadena and think it’s preposterous he was punished by the league by simply speaking the truth. Whether the call on the field was right or not, his comments don’t come from a place of anger or just being a sore loser. He’s absolutely 100% right in that a play of this magnitude that can put your team back in a game MUST be reviewed to the very last detail. Inexplicable why Escobedo didn’t go take a look for himself. It’s bad reffing and not logical. Not saying the refs favored América here, but if you’re the officiating crew, don’t make something that isn’t bad look bad.

And all of this is on Liga MX. Nobody else but them. And for them to punish Cadena for speaking the truth is shameful. Here’s a piece of advice for the league: train your refs WELL and install the necessary technology CORRECTLY to end these foolish mistakes (maybe place the camera on the goal-line instead of at an angle inside the goal). But don’t fine a head coach for calling you out on your bonehead mistakes that you deliberately choose not to fix.

The result leaves Chivas licking their wounds in 7th overall with 22 points, and will have to avoid a road loss to Cruz Azul if they wish to avoid the risk of playing a road Repechaje game. América on the other hand, remain league leaders with 35 points with only one game to go as they visit Puebla in a couple weeks to close out the season. Only Rayados can catch them at this point.