VAR - Ismail Elfath
Ismail Elfath reviews a play as VAR technology is debuted in USL

History was made on Friday night when video assistant referees were used for the first time in a competitive match.

In the United Soccer League, FIFA’s new initiative was applied to the fixture between New York Red Bulls II and Orlando City B, and the VAR technology was utilised in either half to determine the outcome of two key match incidents.

PRO – the referees organisation in the USA – sent experienced duo Ismail Elfath and Allen Chapman to operate, and the pair joined forces to demonstrate how effective video replays can be.

In the first half, Orlando’s Conor Donovan was dismissed for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, with replays also showing the foul was just outside of the box, as correctly called by Elfath originally.

David Elleray, the Technical Director of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), told “The VAR first had to identify if it was a penalty kick or a free kick outside the box, looking at both some pulling and a trip.

“Initially, Elfath correctly called the foul outside the box, which was upheld by the replay. I’d give it a very high grade.”

The video below shows the effectiveness of the technology, and has no major delay on proceedings.

Replays came into play again in the closing stages, with video review determining a 50/50 challenge was worthy of yellow, and not red, after Chapman indicated the play should be looked at.

It also confirmed that a stoppage-time goal for Red Bulls II wasn’t offside, when Elfath believed it was a close call, and that review capped off a good night for the emerging technology.