ZURICH: The Bundesliga may have been slow to appreciate goal-line technology but the German league is the most high–profile of the national competitions selected as test centres for the experiments with video assistants for referees writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The law-making International Football Association Board has chosen six countries around the world to prepare for initial ‘offline’ experimentation with eventual live usage to follow.

England, despite eager initial talk from the Football Association, is not among the six which are:

Australia: Hyundai A-League

Brazil: several competitions under the umbrella of the CBF

Germany: Bundesliga (as a combined project between the DFB and DFL)

Holland: several competitions under the umbrella of the KNVB

Portugal: Portuguese Cup, Super Cup and Taça CTT

United States: Major League Soccer

Subject to the successful completion of initial tests, this year’s Club World Cup in December in Japan is also set to be used as a final test event before the IFAB allows participants to conduct live experiments early next year.

A statement from IFAB explained: “An offline experiment represents a dry run whereby the VARs familiarise themselves with the setup, assess video replays and practice making calls on clear match-changing incidents but without communicating with the referee.

“This means there is no impact on the game, unlike during a live experiment when the match officials do communicate with each other and the referee can take decisions based on information provided by the VAR.

“Live experiments will only begin once all participants have had time to complete the preparations, which is not expected before the beginning of 2017.

“However, The IFAB and FIFA may in the meantime choose selected friendly matches or competitions such as the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December, in which offline and/or live tests are conducted in order to improve the technological set-up and to help train participants, particularly with regard to communication between referees and VARs.”

IFAB secretary Lukas Brud said: “IFAB believes the best way to answer the question of whether the use of VARs will improve the game is to test it in different regions, so we are delighted to already have competitions across four confederations sign up.

“The organisers of these competitions can now begin installing and testing video replay facilities as well as training match officials and technical staff in line with the protocol and in consultation with the IFAB and FIFA’s football technology innovation department.”

Brud said that other federations were “very interested” but needed to hold further consultations with stakeholders and different technology providers. They may be added to the initial list in the coming months.

The first workshop on VARs took place in Holland in May with more to come shortly. The trials are expected to last two years with a subsequent decision by IFAB in 2018 or 2019.