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VAR to be used at World Cup as officials unanimously opt for farcical chaos

The vast majority of referees at the World Cup won't have had experience using VAR by the time the tournament rolls around... so that's good

VAR, the completely flawless, controversy-free system enabling referees to speed up football and satisfy paying fans, will be used at the World Cup.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) have unanimously agreed to implement video referees at the biggest sporting event the world has to offer.

The game’s law-makers have decided to give the green light to VAR at Russia 2018 despite the notable teething problems in domestic football.

VAR will be used at the World Cup in Russia this summer

AFP
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VAR will be used at the World Cup in Russia this summer

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino has already given his backing to the use of video, which has been rolled out for use in the Bundesliga and Serie A this season.

Now the board just need to go through the formality of including VAR in their competition rulebook.

One possible issue is that the vast majority of referees at the World Cup won’t have had experience using the VAR system in a competitive game by the time the tournament kicks off.

Players and fans have also complained about the time it takes to make a decision using VAR — with the enjoyment of the game being compromised by long delays that still result in contentious decisions.

Microsoft Paint lines coming to a World Cup near you

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Microsoft Paint lines coming to a World Cup near you

Referees can consult screens to review decisions

PA:Press Association
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Like something out of a Black Mirror episode

Infantina said: “As of today, video assistant referees are part of football and this is certainly very important news.

“I would say to fans, players and coaches, of course it will have an impact on matches at the world cup, it will have a positive impact.”

The Premier League now face having to decide whether to implement the use of video replays in time for next season.

VAR - Your questions answered

What decisions can it be used for?

The referee can opt to use VAR on decisions concerning the awarding of goals, penalty kicks, offsides, the issuing of straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

The referee can request assistance with these decisions or it can be recommended by the video officials, but the referee on the pitch has the final say after being talked through what the footage shows.

Where has it been used?

It has been in use all season in Serie A and the Bundesliga, among 15 leagues worldwide to test the technology, while it has been trialled in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in recent months.

Have there been any teething problems?

As well as the controversies arising in games in England this season, there have been concerns over the delays caused by VAR referrals.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri complained that the game was “turning into baseball”.

There was also an embarrassing incident in MLS in September when the decision to send off New England Revolution midfielder Xavier Kouassi using VAR was overturned on appeal.

How regularly has it been used?

ESPN reported there were 309 incidents reviewed using VAR in Serie A up to October 30. Of those, 288 backed the referee’s initial call and 21 decisions were overturned.

In British football, uses of VAR have been relatively rare given it has only been available for certain cup fixtures, with the Tottenham-Rochdale clash the game most affected by referrals to the technology.

Can players, managers or others call for VAR to be used?

Players risk a booking if they attempt to influence any official to use VAR and managers or other non-playing club staff risk being sent to the stand if they do the same, or encroach on the area where the referee is reviewing footage.


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