Nemanja Matic has voiced his support for a Serbian referee who was banned for life after using his own ‘budget VAR check’.
Official Stefan Lazovic stunningly decided to check recorded footage on a fan’s phone before ruling out a goal in a lower league match. But while the viral video footage appeared humorous to thousands of fans on social media, The Sun report the referee was promptly banned for life by Serbian football chiefs.
The rather extreme punishment for someone merely trying to do a good job was met with severe criticism online. And AS Roma midfielder Matic has now also come to the defence of fellow countryman Lazovic.
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A post by Instagram account ftbl.serbia slammed the decision by Serbian football chiefs, with the ex-Manchester United and Chelsea star replying with a hands-raised emoji in agreement.
The initial post read: "Support for Stefan Lazovic! Why should only he suffer, why such a rigorous sentence, why a lifetime ban from trial?
"How is it possible that there is no penalty for the delegate and all other authorities from the responsible FS of that district? How could the match be allowed to be played without one assistant referee?! Who is responsible here? Why does Stefan's spear break?
"At the end of the day, the fact that he watched the video and changed the decision, just shows that he wanted everything to be FAIR! He talks about the fact that he was not a slave to his vanity, but he admitted and corrected his mistake.
"Well, this video went around the world and now millions of people have heard about the 'over there' football clubs Popovic and Apollon, as well as the village of Vrnjci!
"In short, we appeal to the judges' organisation and the competent authorities – now you CHANGE the decision! Let the VAR system work for you too and cancel the penalty. Correct the ERROR! SUPPORT FOR STEFAN LAZOVIC!"
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