Video referee technology approved for 2018 football World Cup | News | DW | 03.03.2018
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Video referee technology approved for 2018 football World Cup

Football's law-making body, the IFAB, has given the green light for the use of VAR technology at this year's World Cup. Critics say the system could slow games down.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) on Saturday gave its blessing to video assistant referee technology (VAR), meaning that it can be employed at this summer's World Cup in Russia.

The unanimous decision was taken at a meeting at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, with the board saying the move heralded "a new era for football" in which VAR would help "increase integrity and fairness in the game."

The technology, which is already used in top European leagues, including the Bundesliga, can only be called upon when doubt exists in four key situations: after a goal, in penalty decisions, after a straight red card or in cases of mistaken identity.

World football's governing body, FIFA, must take a further decision on whether to actually use VAR at the World Cup in Russia, which kicks off on June 14. That is expected to occur at a meeting of the FIFA Council in Bogota, Colombia, on March 16.

Read more: Opinion: The decision is irrelevant; VAR sucks the emotion out of football 

Slowing down the game?

VAR has already been backed by top FIFA officials, including the president, Gianni Infantino.

The president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Aleksander Ceferin, said this week, however, that his organization would not introduce VAR in next season's Champions League, citing "confusion" surrounding its use.

Critics of the technology say that it could be used too often, resulting in games being slowed down and possibly harming a team's momentum.

Such video technology has long been employed at the top level in several other sports, including hockey, American football, basketball and cricket.

Read more: Is the use of video assistant referees a curse or a godsend?

tj/jlw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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