— The start of the 2016/17 season this weekend also marks the launch of the video assistant referee trial-run in a joint project by DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB). With this involvement in top-level league football at a very early stage, German professional football wants to be at the vanguard of technical progress in this particular area. Initially, experience will be collected in this area in up to four Bundesliga fixtures per match day. Under the “Laws of the Game” issued by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), four different types of match-changing incidents can be called by a video assistant referee: whether a goal has been shot, penalty decisions, sending-off offences and a change of player after yellow card/red card offences.
Bundesliga will be conducting two different trial-runs. The first trial in the 2016/17 season will be offline, meaning that the video assistant referee will not be making any calls during the match. This phase will be used solely for training and preparing the video assistant referees and other referees. This will be followed by a second phase during the 2017/18 season in which live testing is planned for all Bundesliga matches with a direct impact on the evaluation of situations, although the referee will continue to have the final say.
The offline trials in 2016/2017 will be conducted in the background. There will be no communication between the referee and the video assistant referee. At the same time, live testing will be conducted during training matches and friendlies to collect practical experience ahead of the next round of testing. Video assistant referees will be active, recently retired or former Bundesliga referees who are still involved in training top referees. Rather than observing the match at the stadium from a van, they will be based at a central location in Cologne, where they will have access to all TV production images.
This offline test phase will be accompanied by the following activities: regular training of the video assistant referees, education and information for video assistant referees as a firm element of activities with Bundesliga referees, collection of data such as the duration of the call, the number of opportunities for calls, camera positions or match situations of relevance for video assistant referees, an evaluation of the scope available for video assistant referees to make calls in a given situation, adjustments to the technologies on the basis of test results, reporting and consultation with IFAB and FIFA as well as the sharing of data with other leagues and associations taking part in the tests.
The results of the tests will be analysed and evaluated in an ensuing step. The interim results are to be presented after the end of the first half of the Bundesliga season at the beginning of next year.
Information for editors: Please note that no media coverage of the video assistant referee trials is possible. Accordingly, there will be no opportunities for any reports for TV, radio or the printed media or for any photo shoots. As stated in the press release, the interim results are to be presented after the end of the first half of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season at the beginning of next year.