BOGOTA: Video assistant referees will be deployed at the World Cup finals in Russia for the first time after formal approval from the FIFA Council in Bogota, Colombia.

The International Football Association Board had opened the way for the world federation after ratifying VAR for use throughout the game after two years’ testing in a variety of leagues and cup competitions as well as FIFA junior tournaments.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “We need to live with the times. We wanted to give the referees tools so they can make better decisions, and in the World Cup some very important decisions are made.

“It’s not possible that in 2018 everyone in their living room knows a few seconds after the play whether a referee has made a mistake and the referee doesn’t.

“I was sceptical at first, but without trying you cannot know what it’s worth. Without VAR, a referee can make one important mistake every three matches. With VAR, the figures we have seen from the trials that have been held show that a big mistake is made once every 19 matches.”

VAR was first used by FIFA at the Club World Cup in December 2016, and trialled in the Confederations Cup in Russia last summer.

However the system has aroused some controversy this in league competition in Germany, Italy and Portugaland was described as “comical” and “embarrassing” after Tottenham’s 6-1 FA Cup win over Rochdale in late February, when a goal was disallowed and a converted penalty overturned.

The top Spanish and French leagues will introduce it from next season.

The world governing body’s formal announcement comes after the International Football Association Board (Ifab) “unanimously approved” the introduction of VAR on a permanent basis earlier this month.

Among other issues, FIFA Council approved the use of a fourth substitute in extra time of knockout matches, approved the latest budgetary assessments but put on ice proposals for launch an international women’s league and crunch age-group tournaments¬† into one.

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