Brasileirão 2024: VAR’s impact and controversies on Matchday 1

The refereeing gave a lot to talk about in the opening round of the Brazilian championship
Martín O'Donnell
2024-04-15 22:05:46

The first round of the 2024 Brasileirão couldn’t avoid controversy. While there were goals, flair, and entertaining matches, refereeing was also in the spotlight over the weekend due to questionable decisions, many of them involving VAR.

In the 10 matches played in the initial round, there were five red cards, two penalties awarded, and three called off (as well as others simply overlooked). Here, let’s take a look at the matches that sparked the most debate due to questionable decisions.


++ Curiosities from the First Round of the 2024 Brasileirão
++ Brasileirão 2024 Standings after Matchday 1
++ Brasileirão 2024: Odds on Favorites to Finish as Brazilian League Top Scorers

Criciúma 1-1 Juventude

22 minutes into the game, Bruno Pereira Vasconcelos pointed to the penalty spot in favor of Éder from Criciúma, but Emerson de Almeida delayed the decision to review the play from the booth. The game was stopped for almost six minutes until VAR finally determined that Kayzer was offside.

Vasco 2-1 Grêmio

The match between Vasco da Gama and Grêmio kicked off Sunday’s action and presented two new measures: an extra substitution for concussion, and referee Flavio Rodrigues explaining his decision to the entire stadium after VAR review.

At 14’, Rossi fell in the area, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. After reviewing the play on the monitor (Daiane Muniz at VAR), Rodrigues changed his mind and showed a yellow card to the Vasco forward for simulation. At 42’, Grêmio claimed a penalty after the ball struck Lucas Piton’s arm. However, after review, the play was deemed accidental contact, allowing the game to continue.

Another controversial situation occurred at 49’, when VAR intervened after a supposed foul by Rodrigo Ely on Galdames, and it was determined that there was no penalty.

Atlético Goianiense 1-2 Flamengo

Perhaps the most controversial match of the entire first round. It took only 13′ for Referee André Luiz Skettino to get into trouble by sending off Atlético Goianiense coach Jair Ventura for protesting. The decision was so striking that even Flamengo manager Tite complained.

Later, at 36’, Alejo Cruz received only a yellow card for a foul on Ayrton Lucas, without VAR intervention. Near the end of the first half, Alix Vinicius left the hosts down to 10 men for a foul on Pedro, which led to Nicolás de la Cruz’s free-kick goal.

In the second half, the hosts had a penalty for a foul by Léo Pereira on Luiz Felipe, but Shaylon missed it. However, the real controversial play, which sparked outrage among the home team and the rest of the league, was the penalty awarded to Mengao in stoppage time.

Maguinho and Bruno Henrique went up to challenge for the ball, and although there seemed to be no foul, Wagner Reway called Luis Skettino from the booth, and the referee sent off the Atlético Goianiense defender, awarding the penalty that let the visitors win 2-1.

Corinthians 0-0 Atlético Mineiro

30 minutes into the first half, Fagner made a high boot on Matías Zaracho but Yuri Elino only showed the yellow card to the Corinthians player. VAR official Daniel Nobre Bins did not call for a review of the play.

Just before halftime, Rodrigo Battaglia collided with Yuri Alberto and received a second yellow card, which didn’t sit well with the visitors.

Timao also had reasons to complain: in a play where Yuri Alberto fell to the ground claiming a foul, the game continued and almost resulted in a goal from Gustavo Scarpa. In the same play, Matheuzinho left the field bleeding and alleging an elbow from Jemerson. After the final whistle, António Oliveira (Corinthians’ coach) went to complain to Yuri Alberto and saw the red card.

However, Atlético Mineiro left Neo Química Arena furious and issued a statement: “The country’s premier league cannot have refereeing like that seen in our match this Sunday. Atlético demands a referee who adheres to the guidelines presented by the Brasileirão refereeing commission and a VAR that intervenes in obviously violent plays. The club will submit a formal complaint to the CBF this week. Brazilian football needs more respect and preparation from its referees.”