Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be used at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, FIFA has confirmed.
Gianni Infantino, the president of football’s governing body, confirmed the decision which was agreed on Friday by FIFA’s ruling council in Colombia. He said: “We are going to have our first World Cup with video assisted refereeing. This has been adopted and approved and we are extremely happy with that decision.
“It’s a decision based on the trials that were carried out in over a thousand matches in the last two years that provide us with guarantees and concrete facts that VAR definitely helps referees.
“It will help to have a more transparent and fairer sport which is what we want because the referee has his work cut out for him already and sometimes he can make mistakes – like any human being – and if we can help him to correct some of these mistakes, let’s do so.”
The introduction of VAR at the World Cup was expected after the International Football Association Board (IFAB) reached a unanimous decision to approve the technology earlier this month, following a two-year trial period.
Minimum interference – maximum benefit
You Are The Ref’s Mark Halsey said: “Clearly FIFA are giving the VAR system the benefit of the doubt with this decision. We can all agree that, when used properly, the VAR benefits football.
“But with the World Cup now only three months away you hope that those chosen for the role get the proper training and education. They aren’t there to re-referee games, they should only intervene on clear and obvious errors.”
“It’s a prestigious tournament and we absolutely can’t be discussing fiascos like the ones we saw at the Confederations Cup last summer.
The system was used in the World Cup warm up in 2017 and received widespread criticism after numerous mishaps whilst in England there have been various causes for concern after the VAR made its debut in January.
However Halsey was keen for football to embrace the system, he said: “The system is still in its infancy stage, going through various trials and it’s going to take time to get it right, eventually we have to accept it and appreciate the value it can add to the game.
“Hopefully with more experience and testing we’ll see the VAR have a positive impact at the World Cup, by following IFAB’s VAR motto – minimum inteference – maximum benefit.”