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Goal? Video replays set to be used at football World Cup

A referee consults a video during a Bundesliga match in Germany

A referee consults a video during a Bundesliga match in Germany in October


The use of video replays to help referees make key decisions has been approved by football’s Zurich-based rule-making body IFAB, opening the way for the system to be used at this year’s World Cup. 

Football’s world governing body FIFAexternal link, also based in Zurich, has said the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system will be used at the World Cup in Russia if approved, while its European counterpart UEFA, based in Nyon, has said it will not be deployed in next season’s Champions League. 

+ Reforming FIFA: a dossierexternal link

Critics say VAR has led to confusion in competitions where it has been used, especially for spectators in stadiums who are often unaware that a decision is being reviewed. 

The International Football Association Boardexternal link (IFAB) statement on Saturday described the move as a “historic step for greater fairness in football”. 

According to IFAB protocols, VAR should only be used in four key cases: goals, penalties, direct red cards and mistaken identity. 

A trained referee with access to a video monitor, and in constant communication with the main match official, checks all such decisions. 

If a “clear and obvious” mistake is spotted, the incident can be reviewed and changed. The referee, who has access to a pitchside monitor, can also initiate a review himself. 

The implementation of the VAR system has been one of FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s main projects since he was elected in February 2016. 

The 2018 World Cupexternal link kicks off in Moscow on June 14.


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