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Snoddy hails VAR impact as he prepares to wind clock back


In charge: Alan Snoddy oversaw Morocco v Portugal back in 1986
In charge: Alan Snoddy oversaw Morocco v Portugal back in 1986

By Stuart McKinley

Former World Cup referee Alan Snoddy believes the early days of Video Assistant Referees have produced positive results.

As memories of his big moment on the world stage come flooding back ahead of Morocco's clash with Portugal this afternoon - their first meeting in a finals since 1986, when Snoddy was in charge of the game - Northern Ireland's most well known referee of the last 30 years is warning that the video technology won't have the global impact many are hoping for.

The first World Cup to use the VAR system hasn't been short of raised eyebrows though. As well as penalties being correctly awarded for France, Peru and Croatia, England were left frustrated that they didn't get at least one spot kick as captain Harry Kane was continually man-handled by Tunisian defenders in their opening 2-1 win on Monday.

"The VAR is still very much a work in progress, but we've seen from the early matches in the World Cup that already a number of penalties have been correctly awarded that maybe wouldn't have been otherwise. We're getting the right results so that can only be a good thing," said Snoddy.

Snoddy had only two linesmen to rely on for help when he became the World Cup's youngest ever referee at the age of just 31 back in Mexico '86.

The Morocco v Portugal game in that tournament may not be remembered by anyone else in Northern Ireland, but for Snoddy it was the highlight of a long career.

"It didn't jump out at me at the time, but later on I realised that Morocco and Portugal were meeting again," said Snoddy, who also officiated in Italy four years later.

"I remember it was a quiet game, which was good for me. Morocco won 3-1, which was a surprise result, to top the group ahead of England and become the first African nation to reach the knockout stages.

"The match was in Guadalajara, where Northern Ireland played all their games, and I was able to stay on there until the next day and go to the Northern Ireland match against Brazil, which just added to a very special experience for me."

Portugal vs Morocco

Group B

Luzhniki Stadium, Today, 1.00 pm

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