LONDON: The experimental use of video assistant referees in English football could be brought forward next season.
The Football Association had already indicated that VARs could be trialled in next season’s FA Cup, beginning in January 2018 with the FA Cup third round when Premier League teams join the competition.
But, if a trial is approved by the EFL board, VARs could be used in the League Cup from as early as the first round.
English football, though a pioneer in the deployment of goal-line technology, has been left behind in the testing of video technology.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said on Wednesday: “As part of a trial the board will consider allowing the EFL Cup to be utilised. There are a number of rounds of the EFL Cup prior to that (the FA Cup third round).
“Theoretically it could happen from the first round of the EFL Cup, which would be a team no higher than the Championship down to League Two.”
VARs are currently being trialled, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino keen to employ the system during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The video official in Tuesday night’s friendly between France and Spain corrected two wrong decisions – disallowing an offside effort by Antoine Griezmann and awarding a goal for Gerard Deulofeu after an incorrect offside flag. Spain won 2-0 in Paris.
Approval for VARs to be employed in the League Cup could come as soon as May. There is likely to be a longer wait before VARs can be utilised in the Championship, League One and League Two, due to the lack of cameras currently available across stadia.
Although some stadia will have the capacity to utilise VARs in the league, the EFL believe it is important for the same facilities to be available throughout.
Goal line technology is likely to come into the Championship for the first time next season.
Harvey, who on Wednesday spoke at SportsPro Live where he talked about new streaming product iFollow, added: “One of the real challenges is the integrity of the games.
“If you don’t have the technology available at every single game in the competition, does that potentially have a negative impact on the competition as a whole?
“Ultimately (in the EFL Cup) it doesn’t matter then if it’s not used at every single game in that round because each individual game is a knockout game in its own right. Technology’s got to work with the EFL as well and be possible as part of the whole, not just in part.
“But that should never be interpreted as the EFL not wanting to embrace technology or being against it. It’s just the absolute practicalities and the cost effectiveness of being able to implement it.”
Southampton boss Claude Puel called for technology after his side lost in the EFL Cup to Manchester United at Wembley in February. Manolo Gabbiadini had an early strike ruled out for offside, which replays subsequently showed was an incorrect decision.