DUBLIN: European federation UEFA has decided to rush forward the introduction of video assistant referees into the Champions League writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Instead of starting next season VAR will be implemented from the start of the knockout stage of the competition in the spring after several high-profile controversies.

It is uncertain where this will leave the use of the contentious additional assistant referees – the goal-line officials whose role appears now to be largely redundant.

The decision was taken by a meeting of the executive committee which effectively rubber-stamped an internal recommendation after technological testing and the training of referees over the last few months. This followed the largely successful use of VAR at the World Cup finals in Russia.

In addition, the committee decided to also use VAR at the UEFA Europa League Final 2019, in the UEFA Nations Leagues Finals 2019 and in the final tournament of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2019.

As already decided during the September meeting of the UEFA exco, VAR will then also be used in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, as of the play-off stage of the competition, and at the 2019 UEFA Super Cup. UEFA still plans to subsequently extend the use of VAR at the final tournament of UEFA EURO 2020, in the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League (group-stage onwards), and in the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals.

President Aleksander Čeferin, said: “We are ready to use VAR earlier than initially planned and we are convinced that it will be beneficial for our competitions as it will provide valuable help to match officials and will allow to reduce incorrect decisions.”

Hosting decisions:

• 2018/19 UEFA Nations League Finals – Portugal – 5 to 9 June 2019

• UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 – England – July 2021

• 2019/21 UEFA Under-21 Championship final tournament – Hungary/Slovenia – June 2021

• 2018/19 UEFA Futsal Champions League finals – Kairat Almaty, Kazakhstan – 25 to 28 April 2019

** The UEFA Executive Committee approved the proposal of the European Leagues to appoint Mathieu Moreuil (Premier League) as one of the four representatives of the leagues on the UEFA Professional Football Strategy Council to replace Javier Tebas for the remainder of his term until 2019.

** The next meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee is scheduled for Wednesday 6 February 2019 in Rome, Italy, on the eve of the 43rd UEFA Ordinary Congress.