NYON: The days of the additional assistant referee – the ones alongside the goal-line – appear to be numbered after UEFA decided to embrace VAR for its club competitions writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The European federation’s executive committee, dealing with other issues ahead of the Euro 2024 host vote, decided to introduce the video assistant referees system from the play-off (ie, last qualifying) round of next season’s Champions League.

VAR will also be used at the 2019 Super Cup, at the finals of Euro 2020, in the group stage of 2020-21 Europa League and in the 2021 Nations League Finals.

The use of VAR at the World Cup finals in Russia this summer – surprisingly successful for many observers and officials – galvanised UEFA into embracing the technology in a manner anathema to its former president Michel Platini.The Frenchman had opposed the initial implementation in the elite game of goal-line technology and threw his support behind the AAR system. The rest of the world refused to follow UEFA’s lead and it appears likely that the VAR move will lead to the unlamented demise of the AAR.Confident CeferinUEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, announcing the introduction of VAR, said: “We are confident that introducing video assistant referees in August 2019 will give us enough time to put in place a robust system and to train match officials to ensure an efficient and successful implementation of VAR in the UEFA Champions League, the world’s flagship club competition.”

The draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers take place in Dublin on December 2 with 10 groups of five or six teams to decide 20 finalists, with the remaining four contenders emerging from the Nations League play-offs. The draw for next year’s Nations League finals will be undertaken the following day (December 3) also in Dublin.

In other decisions Gondomar, Portugal, will host the inaugural UEFA Women’s Futsal Euro 2019 with Portugal, Russia, Spain and Ukraine contesting semi-finals, a third-place match and the final between next February 14 and 17.

Latvia will hosts the finals of the first UEFA Under-19 Futsal Euro. Eight teams, including the hosts, face each other in two groups of four, semi-finals and a final next September.

** Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned by UEFA for one game for his Champions League red card against Valencia. He is thus clear to play against one of his old clubs, Manchester United, in the ongoing group stage.