VAR technology to be used at Russia World Cup after lawmakers' vote


In an unprecedented change to the sport, the International Football Association Board (IAFB) has given the nod for the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in this year's upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

Football lawmakers have approved the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) on a permanent basis, following a two-year trial period.

"The decision on the World Cup in Russian Federation on VAR will be taken at the next Council meeting in Colombia on 16 March", said President Infantino, though he confirmed that he was "very positive about VAR".

But opinion is still divided.

Video assistant referee technology has been trialed in Germany and Italy, as well as in some domestic cup matches in England this season to varying degrees of success.

Players and managers have complained of referees being too eager to defer to technology, while fans in stadiums have been left in the dark as to why decisions are being made.

VAR was used at the recent CHAN in Morocco, the Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US, the FA Cup in England, among other major competitions.

"It's clearly a very historical meeting, a very detailed debate that's been ongoing for many years but ultimately culminated in a unanimous decision to approve VAR".

Those problems could see Premier League clubs block it from being used in the world's richest league next season, a snub both Infantino and the chief executive of the Football Association, Martin Glenn, sought to play down yesterday.

With VAR, referee decision-making was "almost perfect", Infantino said.

Others have voiced concern about video assistance slowing down the game and possibly breaking a team's momentum.

The disallowed Spurs goal against Rochdale, that was a mistake, it wasn't clear and obvious, and the referee really should have reviewed it himself on the side of the pitch and made his own mind up.

Infantino said that rather than ruining celebrations, VAR will create "an additional moment of tension".

"As of today, the VAR system is part of football", he said.

VAR technology is expected to be used at the World Cup following a landmark ruling by the International Football Association Board.

Some skeptics also have reservations about introducing such a significant change at the June 14 to July 15 World Cup, before all the kinks have been resolved at lower-profile competition.

It is understood Premier League clubs will discuss VAR technology next month and are yet to decide whether to use the new system.

"FIFA is not going to start tomorrow", he told reporters.

Infantino, however, said the delay to get a decision was a small price to pay for making the right call.