Where there is a will, it is amazing the progress that can be made.
I was delighted to read that David Elleray, as technical director of the International Football Association Board, has announced that the use of the Video Assistant Referee may be introduced before the next World Cup in Russia.
I compliment him on the work he’s doing to achieve this. For instance, I’m aware of his recent visit to the United States and Mexico, presumably to monitor progress and update these countries on the system.
It would appear that the live trials are making good progress. With France, Germany and Mexico keen to test the system themselves, I hope to see its introduction earlier than the two years previously forecast.
Shortly the IFAB will be meeting in order to be updated on the VAR.
Meanwhile, the IFAB annual meeting will be asked to extend the “Modifications” section of the Laws of the Game to give national football associations more freedom and responsibility to modify the organisational Laws, e.g. number of substitutions and length of play, to assist with the development of their domestic football by promoting and encouraging more people to take part in the game.
National Football Associations will be permitted to decide at which levels the modifications are applied in their domestic football, except for competitions involving the first team of clubs in the top league and senior ‘A’ international teams.
Additionally, as part of “Modifications”, the proposal to allow temporary dismissals (sin bins) in youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football for yellow card offences will be considered following tests in UEFA’s development competitions over the last three years.
On the topic of video assistant referees (VARs), the AGM will receive updates on the completion of the first phase of experiments including reports from the workshops held and more than 20 test matches organised to test the VAR protocols which were approved one year ago.
The meeting will receive detailed information on the key learning areas which will be incorporated into the ‘live’ experiments starting in almost 20 competitions around the world in 2017.