FIFA Approves Use of VAR for Russia World Cup

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VAR should minimize errors during World Cup (Wikimedia)
(WFI) Video assistant referee technology (VAR) has finally received the green light to make its debut at the World Cup in Russia. 

FIFA's council approved this Friday, March 16 the use of VAR during the Russian tournament at the meeting held in Bogota, Colombia by the world's football body. 

"We are going to have in 2018, for the first time, a World Cup with VAR," said FIFA president Gianni Infantino 

The decision ratified the approval for the use of the new technology given by the rule-making International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich two weeks ago.

The World Cup will use VAR in four instances only: to judge whether or not a goal has been scored, analyze whether a penalty should be awarded, decide on red cards and rectify if a player has been mistakenly sanctioned.

"It cannot be possible that in 2018 everybody, in the stadium or at home, knows in a few seconds if the referee has made a mistake but not the referee himself – not because he doesn't want to know about it but because we forbid him to know," added Infantino.

"The VAR is helping the referee and we are going to have a more transparent and fairer game."

VAR has been tested for the past two years by 20 federations, including the German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A, but it has not been universally welcomed even by UEFA, the European governing body. 

"Nobody knows exactly how VAR will work. There is already a lot of confusion," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who insists that VAR will not be used in next season's Champions League.

The main criticism associated with VAR is not the accuracy of its decisions but the time it takes a referee to change a call.  Some people argue that the time spent reviewing plays interrupts the normal flow of a game. 

"The intervention of VAR takes one minute on average in each game. If we lose a minute to correct mistakes, I think we have done something good," said Infantino earlier this week on a visit to Lima.

By INSIDER Javier Monne

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