FIFA okays use of VAR technology at World Cup

The video assistant referee (VAR) technology will be used in the 2018 World cup scheduled to be played in Russia starting June 14.

World football governing body FIFA formally approved the VAR on Friday, making the Russian competition the first World Cup that employs the technology.

The VAR has already been trialed in some domestic cup games in England as well as Germany and Italy.

It was also used at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2017, where it received both praise and criticism in equal measure.

“We need to live with the times,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

“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,” he added.

The VAR is the second technology in as many World Cups to be employed by FIFA, timed at realizing more credible officiating.

In the 2014 World Cup, the goal line technology was used for the first time. It is used in games to decide goals in split seconds. It alerts referees if a ball has crossed the goal line or not, sending a vibration message to their wrist watches.

Spanish top flight league – La Liga and France’s Ligue 1 are expected to introduce the VAR from next season.

English football authorities have however hinted at not introducing the technology in the Premier League yet.

Infantino stressed the importance of the VAR, saying it minimizes the chances of referees making mistakes in their duties.

“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,” he said.