Video assistant referees will be used at the World Cup this summer after a session of footballs lawmakers approved change to the rules at top level
Video assistant referees will be used at the World Cup this summer after football’s lawmakers voted unanimously in favour of rolling out the technology for use at the top level despite major problems remaining over its implementation.
Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, reeled off a list of areas where VAR needs to improve, acknowledging it resulted in a goal being incorrectly disallowed during Tottenham’s controversial FA Cup game against Rochdale on Wednesday.
However, Glenn said he was undeterred by the chaos blighting the FA’s own competition or growing opposition to the technology among Premier League clubs.
It does not follow that England’s top flight will automatically adopt VAR next season although they are likely to find themselves out on their own if they do not, with Spain’s La Liga becoming the latest resulting European league to sign up.
A meeting of the 20 Premier League chairpeople next month will vote on whether to implement VAR with a majority of 14 required and a number already conveying misgivings.
” In all my the consultations with people in the Premier League, they can all assure the benefit of VAR ,” said Glenn,” If they do choose not to implement it then it won’t be a fundamental rejection of VAR, it will be a suit of giving it more time .”
The vote to approve the use of VAR was taken by the International Football Association Board after a two-year worldwide trial that included 972 matches in more than 20 leagues. Four representatives from Fifa and a representative from each of the home nations all agreed after a session that was somewhat delayed, somewhat ironically given the common criticism of VAR.
It was hailed as a” historic step for greater fairness in football” and Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, relayed his faith that a session of the Fifa Council in Colombia this month will confirm its use at the World Cup in Russia.
Plans are already in place to reveal replays of VAR incidents on big screens in stadiums and to explain to fans why it is being invoked and what decision has been taken. Trials have shown it will have a fundamental effect on the game, but there is serious concern it will undermine referees, interrupt the flow of matches and cause embarrassment for players and fans.
Infantino, however, was insistent that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.” It sends a message to players that Big Brother is watching you and you will not get away with it ,” he said.
” Those who used to complain about the referee will complain about VAR, you need an excuse if you lose the match. It makes an additional moment of tension but what is more important for us is that we can help the referee to take the right decision .”
Jonathan Ford, the chief executive of the Welsh FA, had arrived in Switzerland undecided about which style he was going to vote, but was convinced by statistics compiled by Belgium’s University of Leuven.
The man who led such studies, Prof Werner Helsen, said it exposed VAR had reduced the number of serious officiating faults from one in every three games to one in every 19. The survey also presented the average hour taken for a VAR review is 55 seconds compared with the 8min 15 sec lost per match to free-kicks.
Trials of VAR are in their infancy in England, having been used in 13 competitive games, in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. It has resulted in six decisions being reversed, all of those in the FA Cup, but has also entail lengthy delays.
Glenn said the three major issues with VAR were 😛 TAGEND
* the process needs to be sped up
* communications with fans must be improved
* there must be a uniform understanding of what is a” clear and obvious fault” that is deemed are worth being reviewed.
” What happens early on, and we insured it in Italy and Germany, the VARs are so desperate to get everything right and support their colleagues on the pitch, they’re probably calling out too many things ,” said Glenn.” We saw that in the Rochdale-Spurs match. That’s fine, let’s admit mistakes. It’s a test. Good, we learn from it .”
After that match the Crystal Palace chairman, Steve Parish, expressed concern.” I am very worried about VAR ,” he said.” I dislike all those games that stop and start, waiting for a decision, and they don’t necessarily get the decision right. We’re going down an incredibly dangerous road with that. My real problem is that we’ve got it for five decisions at the moment, but I can’t see any end to it. You know the answer for everything is going to be more VAR .”
David Elleray, a former Premier League referee and currently head of Ifab’s technological committee, said the focus was too much on the negative but he would not to be withdrawn on whether the Premier League should adopt the technology.” I would never presume to tell any competition what to do ,” he said.” The Premier League will weigh up very carefully the global image and decide whether now is the time for their competition to embrace it. We wouldn’t “says its” mistake if they didn’t vote for it straight away .”
Ifab also approved the use of a fourth replace in extra time.
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