KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: International football is on track to see video assistant refereeing at the World Cup in Russia next year.
The annual meeting of the law-making International Football Association Board at Wembley reported positive progress in worldwide testing and with more countries and competitions to join in the research.
Major League Soccer and the German Bundesliga next season are among major testing platforms coming on stream and probably England’s FA Cup from the third round in January 2018.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said after the meeting that the world football federation would be extending its own live testing to the Confederations Cup in Russia in June, the World U20 Cup in South Korea and the Club World Cup in December.
He said: “Using VARs at the World Cup is our ambition but before that can happen in 2018 in Russia the IFAB has to decide to give a green light next year in March but the signs are very encouraging.
“The little hiccups have been mainly concerned with the the expertise and training that the referees have to make and they will be able to take much faster decisions when they are much more used to the system.”
Infantino believed the time scale for the 2018 World Cup was practical even though it the finals are ‘only’ 15 months away.
He added: “It is realistic because the experience we made in the Club World Cup last December in Japan showed that for the referee it’s not a big change and he can learn how to use it very quickly.
“We will test it with all the candidates to be World Cup referees in our competitions this year and, and in addition there will be seminars for them, so I’m very confident.
“The VAR will not bring perfection but the positive thing is that there are no negatives. Whereever it is used you can be sure the right decision will be taken.”
Rush to test
More than 20 countries and competitions have signed up for testing and Infantino added: “Anyone who wants to make these tests, its the more the better, the sooner the better. We have allowed these tests since one year ago so let’s make them.”
Martin Glenn, ceo of the host Football Association, said that he expected English football would see video referees in action next season in the F Cup from the third round onwards.
He also confirmed that the VAR system would have corrected the incident in last Sunday’s League Cup Final when Southampton’s Marco Gabbiadini had an early ‘goal’ wrongl ruled out for offside.
Other decisions taken by IFAB focused around a strategy of seeking to improve player behaviour and Infantino believed that this would only be enhanced by an improvement in the number of correct decisions in and around the goal area.
All the IFAB decisions: http://keirradnedge.com/2017/