As technology advances, so must all of the things that require it. With this in mind, video assistant referees (VAR) have been approved by FIFA for the 2018 World Cup, which will take place this summer in Russia. They will primarily be used to review questionable decisions and potentially overturn mistakes. This a controversial move considering doubts around the video replay system’s effectiveness. Here’s everything you need to know about VAR...
Fans have been very vocal about their concerns around the new system’s potential effect on the time of the matches, which could fundamentally alter how the sport operates. They’re also worried that the technology might make tough decisions even more confusing. Either way, part of the protocol is that fans will be informed during the judgment process by the broadcasters and commentators. The VAR won't make any decisions, they instead simply offer assistance to the on-field referees.
The VAR team will be located in a centralized video operation room in Moscow’s International Broadcast Centre (IBC). Four replay operators will have access to every camera feed from the 12 stadiums for all 64 matches. The team is made up of the video assistant referee and three assistant referees, or AVARs. They will observe and communicate using a fibre optic network and fibre-linked radio system. The team will assist with crucial decisions, like goals and offenses leading up to a goal, penalty decisions leading up to a penalty and any case of mistaken identity. But they will only have access to red card incidents.
Watch the video below to learn about some of the World Cup’s most controversial referee decisions and see exactly what the VAR will be helping with...